Adah price has lived a life of survival since the day she was conceived. Surviving is more important than living. Kingsolver portrays Adah’s cynical lifestyle in The Poisonwood Bible. She is isolated from almost everyone she knows and has to work hard to maintain her head above water. Her outlook is pessimistic as a result. However, she gains a mature perspective on the world and herself through her experiences in Congo. She sees the Congo through a different lens and begins to accept her life. Adah price grows out of her old self and becomes something new. “That’s what it is to be a Beast in the Kingdom.” (306)

Adah was always half-full. Although her mental illness and outsider status are the main reasons for her negative outlook, it all changes when she is in Congo. Adah’s low self-esteem is reflected in her comparison to her twin sister Leah. (34). Adah also feels hopeless and has low self-esteem. As Adah calls herself, “lost within the shuffle,” (34) She prefers looking backwards over forward. Adah discovers that her story in Congo progresses and she stops comparing herself or intentionally excluding others. Adah also comments that Africans stare at her because of her whiteness, not her limp. This is her first experience not being discriminated against because she has a limp. Adah, a twelve-year-old girl, develops quickly through the Congo events. Adah experiences the Congo with her mother abandoned and her feet being trampled in fire ants attacks. These are terrible things for twelve-year-olds. This is what makes her mature and able to see the value in life. Adah’s pessimism changes when she realizes the sacrifices that life requires. Adah’s near-death experience in the Revelation is when a lion almost kills him. However, a bushbuck years later is killed in her stead. Recognizing its inadvertent act of sacrifice, she says, “One God draws in the breath and rises; Another god expires.” (141). Later, she expands on this thought when congolese kill animals during times of hunger. Adah is a witness to many horrific events in Africa. This is just one example of how Adah learns a valuable lesson. She was shocked to see the cruelty of wildlife. There is no other choice. It is the single solemn guarantee that all human life is born and obligated to keep.” (347). She begins to understand the sacrifices necessary to sustain a life. Then she comes to terms about her own life. Adah comes to realize that this statement has true value. She must live a healthy life. Adah comes to appreciate the importance of living and the lessons she has learned from the Congo.

Adah is now a person who is willing and able to live. She can’t appreciate life without seeing the price of losing it. Adah has not experienced the death of animals and cannot distinguish between a loss and a real one. Adah has to have a meaningful and close-to-home funeral. An unnatural death. Her little sister Ruth May, her youngest sibling, succumbs to this death. She remarks that “because of my inability to stop for death, the kindly stopped for him-oh how dear are we to ourselves when this happens, it arrives, that long, dark shadow in the sand.” (365). This is a sign that she finally realizes the true cost of a person’s life. Adah wouldn’t feel the loss if it was her. She feels loss when someone she loved dies. She believes that she learned a lesson from her inability to stop and help him when she died. Adah remembers when Adah “reached forward and clung desperately for life with [her] best hand” (306) Adah is now aware that anyone and everything can pass away as soon as they are born. She must continue to learn if her life is to be truly meaningful. Adah takes the lessons learned from her experience and casts aside her old, narrow-minded judgmental self. This character development is evident in how she views the future.

Exodus Adah returns to Africa to relive all she has lost and gained. She can only regret the cost of becoming what she was. The Price family reunites in Congo to complete the circle. There have been two Price family members who have been in Africa for a while, and two more who are now living in America. Two of them are deceased. Adah views all of this with a sense for privation. Rachel feels that the Congo took more than she could take away. Leah does not see the Congo’s actions. Adah finally looks at Rachel. Her mother lives with the costs of living. But the cost to die is still living. Adah had the torment and pain of living in the pit she found herself in.

Adah Price was raised in harsh circumstances. She didn’t see beyond her own problems and grew up with negative influences. Adah Price isn’t a fool. Adah is adamant that her condition was not a result of predestination. She understands more than most people and would have her family believe so. Despite her intelligence, she is irritable towards life and herself. The Congo is where she will find the solution to her problems. She learns the truth about life and comes to terms with herself through the African trials. Adah is able not only to appreciate life, but also to be able hold on to her precious life with all she has. It’s the ability to resist the cruel world. Adah Prices is neither monster nor human.


  • rhysgraham

    Rhys Graham is an educational blogger and professor who writes about topics such as literacy, mathematics, and science. He has written several books, including one on the history of science. He is also the co-founder of the website Learn Out Loud, which helps educators create and share classroom activities.