The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible

Pdf fan Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

The Poisonwood Bible Book 2, Chapter 21 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Adah thinks of one of her favorite poets, William Carlos Williams. She likes this name, and finds it interesting that he managed to be both a poet and a doctor. Adah explains that there’s a constant “wave” of dead children in the village—Pascal’s brother died just the other day. Nathan seems not to care about the dying children; he’s more concerned with the children’s souls.
Adah’s interest in Williams is intriguing, and surely connected to the symmetrical nature of his name and his work. Adah views the events of the village—even the every tragic ones—dispassionately. Her medical condition has made her seemingly immune to sentimentality of any kind.
Themes
Freedom, Growth, and Coming-of-age Theme Icon
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
Race, Racism, and Culture Theme Icon
Imperialism Theme Icon
The thunderstorms have subsided in Kilanga, meaning that fewer children are dying of disease. Meanwhile, Axelroot travels widely to sell supplies and technology. Adah becomes more conscious of the way her community is seen in other parts of the world. Based on the conversation with the Underdowns, she thinks that the Americans and Russians see the Congo as a “place for cannibals.” Adah admits that they might have a point—after all, Nathan did offer children to the crocodiles.
Adah can see that Axelroot is in touch with American and European allies. This suggests that the Congo is still very much under the influence of “colonial powers.” Adah also ironically points out that the kind of “savagery” the Western world assumes exists in Africa actually comes just as often from its “white saviors” like Nathan.
Themes
Freedom, Growth, and Coming-of-age Theme Icon
Women and Sexism Theme Icon
Race, Racism, and Culture Theme Icon
Imperialism Theme Icon