The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible Book 4, Chapter 56 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
In the evening, the Price sisters return to their home, and Rachel prepares to announce that she’s a vegetarian. But within a few moments, she gives in and begins eating antelope meat. She watches as Leah and Nathan wage a “war” with each other. Nathan tells Leah that she’s disobeyed him, meaning that she’s not even worth punishing. Leah acts cool, knowing in her heart that she’s done an impressive thing by killing the antelope. Orleanna is clearly on Leah’s side—she doesn’t speak, but she stacks the plates noisily, showing her anger with Nathan.
Rachel has no real convictions: she even breaks her own promise to be a vegetarian. This section is also a good example of how Nathan’s wife and children can resist his tyranny without openly fighting back. In a notable shift of allegiances, Leah seems to have abandoned any respect she had for her father.
Themes
Freedom, Growth, and Coming-of-age Theme Icon
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
Women and Sexism Theme Icon
Suddenly, Nelson runs into the house, saying that he saw an “X” shape in the chicken house—a traditional omen of danger in the future. Nathan sternly tells Nelson that he’s been worshipping “false idols.” Nelson goes back out to the chicken house, very glum. Leah, sympathetic to Nelson, decides to go outside to help him defeat the “omen.” She asks her sisters if they’ll help her, but nobody answers. Then Adah gets up to give Leah a hand.
Nathan, proud as ever, refuses to accept other traditions or systems of belief, even when they could help him protect his own family.
Themes
Freedom, Growth, and Coming-of-age Theme Icon
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
Race, Racism, and Culture Theme Icon
Outside, Leah and Adah help Nelson, who’s seen a snake near the chicken house, and is suspicious that there’s been an intruder in the area. They build a pathway made of fine ash and dirt. Then they send Nelson to stay with Anatole. This way, if any humans set foot near the chicken house, Leah and Adah will see their footsteps.
We can tell that someone is going to come by the chicken house before long: the Prices have made so many enemies in their community that someone will try to sabotage them.
Themes
Freedom, Growth, and Coming-of-age Theme Icon
Race, Racism, and Culture Theme Icon