The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible Book 5, Chapter 72 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Anatole is in prison once again, Leah begins—he’s been arrested for his defiance of Mobutu, as well as for his education. Leah tries to understand what her life will be like from now on. Pascal, her son, is now a teenager. He remembers the previous years, when they all lived in Atlanta. Leah herself is nostalgic for this time—Adah was in medical school then, and Orleanna was very kind to Leah and Pascal.
Time is flying along within the narrative, and Leah’s son is about the same age Leah was when the novel began. In spite of her guilt at having left Zaire for Atlanta, Leah is also extremely nostalgic for her time in the U.S., when she and her husband both felt safe, free, and hopeful.
Themes
Freedom, Growth, and Coming-of-age Theme Icon
Women and Sexism Theme Icon
Race, Racism, and Culture Theme Icon
Imperialism Theme Icon
Leah’s children have all seen Atlanta, and love it. Coming back from one visit, Anatole’s passport was confiscated at the airport. Anatole believed that he’d receive his passport in the mail in a few days, but instead, he was placed in detention for treason—this would probably result in a life in prison. Anatole will be placed in the same prison where Lumumba was imprisoned years before.
The parallels being drawn here between Anatole and Lumumba aren’t very comforting—it’s strongly implied that Anatole is going to die in prison, just as Lumumba did.
Themes
Race, Racism, and Culture Theme Icon
Imperialism Theme Icon
Leah is extremely lonely now. She takes care of her children in Anatole’s absence, but can’t shake the sense that they don’t really need her. She tries to forget her heartache by staying busy. She writes letters to Anatole, reporting on her children’s health. She also writes letters to Adah, explaining her sadness. Leah envies Adah for her freedom and individuality—Adah has no lovers or children to whom she’s attached. (Leah also mentioned that Adah has become a world-class expert on tropic epidemiology.)
Leah goes through the same insecurities that Orleanna experienced years before: she’s afraid that she can’t do anything for her children. This feeling of powerlessness is also apparent in other parts of her life: in school, she can’t fight the feeling that nothing she does is going to make a difference to her pupils. It’s enough to make us wonder if Adah isn’t the happiest of the Prices—the only one to escape the cycle of dependency.
Themes
Freedom, Growth, and Coming-of-age Theme Icon
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
Women and Sexism Theme Icon
Imperialism Theme Icon