The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible

A resourceful, devious man who provides the Prices with most of their food and supplies during their time in the Congo—albeit at exorbitant prices. It’s strongly implied that Axelroot is involved in the CIA operation to murder Patrice Lumumba, and after Lumumba’s death, Axelroot is seen as a powerful, well-connected man in the new Congolese society. Axelroot is last seen married to Rachel Price, who gravitates to Axelroot because he represents safety and security, if not love. Axelroot isn’t a faithful husband at all, and after a few years Rachel leaves him for another man.
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Eeben Axelroot Character Timeline in The Poisonwood Bible

The timeline below shows where the character Eeben Axelroot appears in The Poisonwood Bible. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 2, Chapter 13
Race, Racism, and Culture Theme Icon
Imperialism Theme Icon
...sees an orange or a packet of detergent now, she remembers a man named Eeben Axelroot. Axelroot was a “hanger on” in the Congo: he knew how to get things, most... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 14
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...Lo is highly industrious, perhaps because she doesn’t have a husband. Leah also notices Eeben Axelroot, who lives in a shack far from the center of the village. Adah and Leah... (full context)
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One day, Leah returns from spying on Axelroot to find Ruth May playing “Mother May I?” (a children’s game) with a group of... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 15
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...if Nathan finds out that Ruth May was climbing trees he’ll whip Ruth May. Eeben Axelroot is around the area, and he comes to the house to treat the broken arm.... (full context)
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Nathan flies with Ruth May to the nearest reliable doctor, as Axelroot flies them out of the town in a plane he owns. The doctor asks Nathan... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 20
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It’s January, and the Underdown family shows up from Leopoldville, riding in Axelroot’s plane. Orleanna is upset that the Underdowns see her doing housework in her worn clothing,... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 21
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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... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 22
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Rachel describes how Nathan flies to Stanleyville with Eeben Axelroot to pick up more quinine pills (necessary for treating diseases like malaria). Rachel, unlike Ruth... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 23
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Ruth May reports that Nathan and Leah flew away “on the plane.” This isn’t Axelroot’s plane, but a special charter plane, one sent by the Underdowns to transport the Prices... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 27
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...anymore, they’ll have to find other sources of income. Furthermore, Nathan has had to bribe Axelroot to fly them back from Leopoldville, using the last of the family savings. (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 31
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Leah mentions that Axelroot dislikes Lumumba, and Anatole tells Leah that he thinks Axelroot is “trouble in his own... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 36
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...Orleanna and Nathan hit on the idea of pretending that Rachel is engaged to Eeben Axelroot. Word gets out that Rachel is “taken,” and Ndu stops visiting. (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 37
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Rachel has been spending time with Axelroot to create the impression that they’re engaged. Just as the Prices planned, Ndu has been... (full context)
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Rachel tells Axelroot stories about her childhood and high school. These stories are nothing compared to the ones... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 38
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...is going to marry Tata Ndu or not. She’s heard that Rachel is considering marrying Axelroot, instead. Ruth May doesn’t like this, since she finds Axelroot mean. Tata Ndu continues to... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 40
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Everyone in the village thinks Rachel is actually engaged to Eeben Axelroot. Meanwhile, Leah has begun studying languages with Anatole, and she also teaches Anatole’s students in... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 42
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After Rachel’s birthday, Axelroot visits her and takes her for a walk to keep up the appearance that they’re... (full context)
Women and Sexism Theme Icon
Axelroot and Rachel walk by a large group of women returning from the field. Axelroot flirts... (full context)
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Axelroot changes the subject to politics. He tells Rachel a secret—Lumumba, the Prime Minister, is as... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 43
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Adah has been spying on Axelroot, and whenever she listens to his radio, she hears the phrase “good as dead” to... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 63
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...everything that’s happened recently. Adah told her about the strange man she’s seen meeting with Axelroot. Also, Leah considers the gunfire she heard in the distance a few days before. (full context)
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...the U.S. Nathan is still stationed in Kilanga. Rachel has left with her “devil savior,” Axelroot. Anatole is taking care of Leah in the absence of her other family members. Leah... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 64
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...to explain how she came to be in South Africa. She’s now living with Eeben Axelroot, although she’s technically not married to him. Axelroot isn’t a particularly loyal companion—in fact, he... (full context)
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Rachel remembers the day that Axelroot flew her out of the Congo in an airplane. She was so excited to leave... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 67
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...parents and sisters are alive anymore). Rather, Rachel is saddened by her relationship with Eeben Axelroot, who—she suspects—cheats on her. Axelroot mocks Rachel for being a “poor little rich girl,” and... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 76
Freedom, Growth, and Coming-of-age Theme Icon
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...war to find the country full of hippies. She also notes that her marriage to Axelroot has given her “female problems” and made her unable to have children. (full context)