English III Honors
4 January 2019
Poisonwood Bible: Rachel Price
At first sight Rachel, the eldest daughter of the price family, would seem to be a materialistic and
conceded teenage girl. Rachel is resistant of her father's wishes to minister in Africa and rebels in any
way she is able. She does not agree with her fathers religious views and could care less about the people
he is trying to save. All she wants is to leave the Congo and go back to the life she had before with all of
her beauty products and possessions. One would think that Rachels obsession with her looks would be
unnecessary. However, upon closer examination, the reader can see that Rachel uses her beauty and
egotism to her advantage. It is the gift that allows Rachel out of the Congo, no matter what the cost may
be. Continuing to separate herself from the nation she lives in, Rachel unwittingly creates her own life
with sadness and regret by using other people to save herself.
Rachel Price, the eldest teenager, changed physically and socially due to her journey to the Congo in
Africa. Rachel approaches the Congo as being an annoyance rather than a trip for the better of the people.
She went from being an American teenager in Georgia to the “white termite” reject into the Congo whom
no one is looking out for. Back in Georgia she was the definition of the “perfect” image with
sapphire-blue eyes, white eyelashes, and platinum blonde hair that falls to her waist. She realizes the
Congolese do not care too much about appearance unlike her. Rachel says, “So they all came grandly
down to the picnic; women with their heads wrapped in print cloth like birthday presents. Children
wearing what few clothes they had- which even that was only for our benefit, i knew, after Father’s blow
up over the little dress- code problem” (Kingsolver 48). She is not used to their way of dressing and looks
down upon it. Rachel believes the Congolese are envious of her hair as she says, “Consequently they are
so envious of mine they frequently walk up boldly and give it a yank”. (48). Rachel is trying to separate
herself from society however needs to realize the rejection she is getting by the Congolese. She seems
pessimistic about every situation in the Congo. When communist Nikita Khrushchev says he doesn’t want
to leave the Congo, Rachel reacts with a snarky comment. “I stared out the window, wondering who
wouldn’t want to leave the Congo if you could say Jack Robinson if they had a change” (162). Rachel has
no interest in the Congo, wants to go back home and escape.
Throughout Rachel's journey in the Congo, she realizes she has to fend for herself. The Congo is a
reality check for Rachel. She learns how to cook and do things on her own since the age of 16 as she says,
“So back to the kitchen for Rachel the slave!” (246). This is part of Rachel’s depressing side, she always
has a negative approach to everything and her sarcasm is part of her everyday...