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Free Study Guide-The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver-Free Summary
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Minor Characters

Brother Fowles / his wife

Missionaries of Kilanga prior to the Price family. Brother Fowles married an African woman and stayed behind when the Europeans and Americans were advised to get out of the Congo.

Eben Axelroot

Pilot of a private plane who brings supplies into Kilanga and provides transportation out for emergencies. He seems to have government connections and knows a great deal about the political manipulation going on in the Congo. While he implies that he may have CIA connections, he is also clearly a smuggler of diamonds and other African treasures. He has little moral character; Rachel agrees to marry him as part of a scheme to get out of the Congo, but actually does marry him when her mother leaves the mission and Rachel has no where else to go.

Mama Tataba

An African woman who worked as housekeeper and cook for the Price family. Leaves the family early in the story after an argument about baptizing the African children.

Tata Ndu

Kilanga chief. Has no use for Nathan Price, but exhibits his own brand of compassion in trying to marry Rachel when the Price’s lose their financial stipend.


One of Anatole’s students. He is sent to cook and help the family when Anatole finds out first hand how desperately they need someone.


The first African child to become a real friend to the girls. He gets acquainted through Ruth May’s game "mother may I," then spends time with Leah and Adah as well. He is instrumental in teaching the girls African words and concepts.

Tata Boanda

A village man who bring money and other items to Leah and Anatole to help them escape.

Tata Kuvudundu

Village witch doctor who creates curses and plants the snake that kills Ruth May

Mama Mwanza

Village woman who lost her legs in a fire. Exhibits compassion and selflessness in her attempts to help the Price family.

The Underdowns

A Belgian couple who claim to have started the Kilanga mission. They meet the Price family in Leopoldville and attempt to fill them in on what to expect in Kilanga. They also function as messengers regarding political events.

The Templetons

Acquaintances of Rachel in South Africa. Known for giving elaborate parties. Rachel sees their life style as something she wants to copy.

Patrice Lumumba

The first prime minister of independent Congo. Enjoys his position for a mere two weeks. Important to the novel because his election is the first experience the village people had with voting and gives the Tata Ndu the idea of "elections" involving the Price’s later on. Also represents a political position which makes life dangerous for Anatole and Leah after they are married.

President Mobutu

Took over the Congo in a military coup supported by Belgium and the United States.

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Free Study Guide-The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver-Free Summary


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