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Word Count: 969
While reading The Poisonwood Bible I was fascinated by Kingsolvers extensive use of Lingala the language used in the region of the Congo where the Price family lives Lingala is a language in which each word has several meanings and Kingsolver has the characters in the story use language to reflect themselves Kingsolver also masterfully wields words to connote subtle ideas throughout the novel Throughout the novel are sprinkled many phrases in Lingala phrases that are eventually learned or heard by any one of the narrators For example the villagers have names for three of the Price daughters Leah at first is called leba meaning fig tree and then later Anatole the schoolteacher calls her beene-beene meaning as true as the truth can be Adah is benduka the crooked walker but benduka spoken with a different emphasis on the latter part of the word is the name the villagers call a beautiful species of birds around their village Rachel they call mvula the Lingala word for a pale white termite that comes out after rain The villagers were fascinated and also disgusted with Rachels appearance and her long white-blond hair Ironically Rachel was completely obsessed with her looks Each of the Price daughters has their own unique relationship to the Lingala language and also language in general Rachel portrayed as a platinum blonde not very intelligent girl is very egotistical and cares only for her appearance and her own comfort Rachel constantly and uncaringly misuses words both in Lingala and English This literary technique helps show her as completely self-interested ignoring the world around her Adah Leahs identical twin is a cripple for most of the book as the right side of her brain was deformed since birth and the left side of her body paralyzed Her outlook at life was very cynical and she preferred to examine everything backward rather than forward In the book she reads words both backward and forward and
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