Hi. I’m Brandon and I analyzed Chapter 19 of How to Read Literature Like a Professor: Geography Matters and how Foster’s points are illustrated in the Poisonwood Bible.
Picture: First picture that comes to mind when the word “Geography” is mentioned is a map. Cartographer tools. Aesthetically pleasing.
According to Thomas Foster….. read quotations.
Geography can also, and frequently does, play quite a specific role in a literary work. In the Poisonwood Bible, for example, there are many important plot points that stem from the Congolese jungle as well as the country’s political crisis. Foster says: (Jack and Jill quote). Similar to how the hill provided a decline for Jack and Jill to stumble down, the jungle provided a habitat for the ants, the village hunt, the snake that killed Ruth. In addition, the revolutionary state the Congo is in allows story arcs for Leah and Anatole, and of course the suspicious actions of Eeben Axelroot.
In the Poisonwood Bible, the Congo “defines and develops” each member of the Price family. When Nathan Price attempts to bend the Congo to his will (for example, the beans), and it doesn’t work, his stubbornness and static attitude drives him mad in the end. Adah is empowered in Africa; other than her skin color, she is not much different from the many other cripples in Kilanga. She is symbolically and literally healed when she makes it out of Africa. When she marries Anatole, a man deeply involved in the country’s revolution, she is trapped in Africa and ends up planting her roots there. Ruth May symbolizes the sacrifice that people must make to come to the Congo and of course loses her life. Rachel sticks out her elbows and goes wherever the Congo will take her. Orleanna is scarred by what the Congo has taken from her and she suffers from guilt for the rest of her life.
In Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver, the main character goes from a closed to an open environment. When she finally leaves the short-horizoned, rural lands of Kentucky, she seizes the opportunity to grow and develop. Similarly, when Django in the Tarantino film, Django Unchained, is free from slavery, the geography symbolically changes. In the beginning of the film, when he is enslaved, he is enclosed by chains of course, but also nearby hills and forests. But once he is free, large-scale shots of distant mountains and open plains are used.