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Free Study Guide-The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver-Free Summary
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Book Seven: The Eyes in the Trees

Summary

The novel concludes in the voice of Ruth may, simultaneously her own childish spirit, the all knowing green mamba snake and the soul of Africa. She is "muntu," an African word that encompasses all being, both living and dead, the equivalent of the European "all-soul." She is able to see their entire history at once: "being dead is not worse than being alive. It is different, ... the view is larger." She sees the death of Mobutu and the wordless celebration of the Congo as the murdered land begins to live again.

Ruth May urges her aging mother to accept forgiveness and shed the weight of her babyís death, a child who lives as a part of Africa itself.


Notes

Ruth May has at last answered her mother who has begun each new book with further explanation of the things that happened to them. Her response is not particularly compassionate, but is not cold either. It is simply detached, implying that her mother must forgive herself in order to find relief. The voice is remarkably nonchalant, as if it is perfectly normal for the spirit of the forest to speak if it chooses. It is a reflection of the African and American Indian acceptance of the physical and spiritual worlds as equally "real."

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