Sunday, August 18, 2013
1987 AP Exam Prompt 2
"Advocating change through literature"
Change is can either be advocated loud and proudly or silently and effectively. In the novel “The Poison Wood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver, Kingsolver introduces the reader to the Belgium Congo of the 1960’s. The unique way in which she introduces the reader to the Congo is what makes the reader visualize and critique the setting of the novel and the people surrounding it. Kingsolver’s main technique in the novel is symbolism. Many if not all of the main characters symbolize something. Each one inputs the will for change.
To begin with Nathan Price symbolizes pride and ignorance of those (at the time) who wanted to change the Congo people’s ways. It is impossible to move to a place and want to run the place as if it were your own. Change can sometimes be good, but in the case of Mr. Price there not be change. I think what Kingsolver is trying to tell the reader is that people need to change the way think and consider other’s differences. What is good for one may not be good for another.
Rachel, the oldest Price symbolized indifference for the Congo people and ignorance toward the whole situation. This attitude may have been the one of many at the time. After all it can be difficult to truly care and sympathize with someone else when your life is perfect, and that is exactly how Rachel thought. On the other hand we had Ruth May who was what Kingsolver meant by change. She wanted people to be accepting and understanding like Ruth May. Unfortunately not all wishes come true.
Kingsolver tells the truth through her fiction novel. She advocates change silently by introducing her reader to a historical event that raised a lot of questions and chaos. Symbolism is her most eye opening tool. It allows the reader to really analyze the problem and what Kingsolver would like it to be changed to.