Dear Ms. Kingsolver:

 Throughout my entire life, I’ve imagined myself as a lonesome mountain climber, trekking (many times struggling) inch by inch up the testing mountain of life and aspirations. There are days when I hike the mountain with extreme ease, where the barely-inclined surface is a smooth slab of rock. And there are days where a flood of rain and thunder cruelly quake the jagged earth beneath my feet, knocking me down every time I attempt to stand, bruising me to the point that I would consider to give up my dreams of reaching the peak and slide back down to the foot of the mountain to live a normal, average life. My mountain has made me a rugged survivor, hardworking and determined. However, after reading The Poisonwood Bible, you made me I realize that I would not be where I am today without the struggles and assistance from another mountaineer.

Nathan Price disgusted me, though I knew he was a necessary character. His outrages, his defiance, and his judgements towards his family and the Congo natives were almost inhumane. The only thing I respected was his determination to reach his goals. I don’t think he ever understood or appreciated the sacrifices that Orleana and his daughters made for him to reach his intentions of converting the natives in Congo to his religion. However, I began widen my eyes when I myself began to see similarities between Nathan and me.

I don’t think Nathan ever reached the top of his mountain. His mountain, like mine, contained thousands of impassable boulders and slippery pebbles. Like me, he didn’t realize that he was not the only one climbing his mountain. Orleana and his children were behind him constantly, supporting him during his hardships. However, the only difference is that their support was shown more by fear than love. How the Price children didn’t sell out their mother for teaching Methuselah to curse, the way Nathan treated Orleana when she tried to alleviate the pain from his poisonwood stings, and the way Orleana crumpled when Nathan crushed her plate after the dinner with Anatole were all evidence of their support through fear. Who was Nathan without his family? He was untrustworthiness and unwanted control. Nathan needed the support from his wife and daughters to seem more convincing and humane to the natives. Yet, he had taken his family for granted and they left him alone to climb his now impossible mountain. His cruelty was unwarranted and because of his controlling and close-minded character, he lost his supporters and was never able to reach his goal.

In the past, I struggled with the pressures weighed on me in school, art, and swim. I was Nathan, continuously unsatisfied with my progress, pushing my supporters away thinking that I could do things myself. My greatest supporter, my mother, struggled with my sleep-deprived and exhausted behavior and sacrificed much so that I could be a little happier. I never had the appreciation of the opportunities that I received from my mother. But after reading about the Price women leaving Nathan in Congo, I realized that Nathan deteriorated quickly and began to lose his grip and slide. Then I began to question myself: who was I without my mother? Without her love and support, I too would lose my grasp on the rocks and take many falls. She knows I am still not physically and mentally strong enough to make the progress that I want to see from myself. After reading your book, I was ashamed of myself of not realizing beforehand why I am where I am today. You made me see through a new perspective on the helpful people and things I took for granted in my life.

Before reading The Poisonwood Bible, I was completely oblivious to the actions of my mother and unresponsive towards her assistance. Though I loved her very much, I didn’t necessarily understand or appreciate her support. I had always thought that I was climbing my own mountain by myself, but now I see that my mother has always been behind my back, pushing me up slopes that were too deep, encouraging me to keep going when I wanted to slide down. It was her who has made me a rugged survivor, hardworking and determined. She has struggled and sacrificed many things for me so that I could one day reach the top of the mountain, hold my hands high up in the air, and look down and smile at my feat. Through Nathan’s character, I was able to appreciate and love my mother much more and understand that I should never take things in life for granted. For that I couldn’t thank you enough. 

Page last modified: April 4, 2017