The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible


Barbara Kingsolver

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The Poisonwood Bible: Book 3, Chapter 47 Summary & Analysis

Adah tries to make sense of what she saw the night of the ants. She could easily have been eaten alive by the ants—luckily, however, she was able to wake up and move away just in time. Orleanna carried Ruth May out of the house, saying that Nathan had already run out. Adah tries to keep up with Orleanna and her sisters, but she’s too slow. She feels someone lift her up and carry her toward the river. As she reaches the river, she realizes that it’s Anatole. Immediately after the episode, Adah wonders why her mother did not help her, but chose Ruth May instead. “Now,” however, she doesn’t wonder at all. Instead, Adah thinks of how she tried to save herself.
Even in a moment of crisis, Adah is surprisingly dispassionate. This doesn’t mean that she doesn’t try to save herself, and yet when Adah looks back on the incident, she doesn’t linger on how Orleanna didn’t choose to save her (i.e., how she chose Ruth May instead). Instead, Adah learns to focus on herself; she refuses to rely on anybody. This is poignant: we get the idea that Adah is forcing herself to be self-sufficient because she believes that she has to be.
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