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Alison Hall, Lucy Hickcox, Taylor Kone, Autumn Stevens


Queen Curmano
Freshman English Honors P. 6
5 December 2014
Ada to Adah: Bangala to Bngala
Ecnelis deppots ecne icsy tirec nis. Adahs contrasting and changing personalities
throughout Barbara Kingsolvers Poisonwood Bible show how one can transform over time
when they change their values and religion. Adas disregarded, uniquely poetic personality--as
seen in the beginning of the book--evolves to an Adah of found and free individual thoughts
through sincerity, science, and stopped silence that further exhibit the concept that because of
religious comparisons and self perception ones values could change causing them to find a new
identity.
Adahs personality was one often disregarded by the Price family and clearly labeled
based on her physical capabilities--more importantly it overflowed with poetic meaning and
sincerity. I am prone to let the doctors prophecy rest and keep my thoughts to myself. Silence
has many advantages It is true I do not speak as well as I can think. But that is true of most
people as nearly as I can tell (Kingsolver 34). Shes okay with silently listening to the chaos of
society and having the world judge her based on her bent body. However, she doesnt think less
of herself mentally or physically like the majority of people do. Like Daniel she enters the lions
den, but lacking Daniels pure and unblemished soul, Ada is spiced with the flavors of vice that
make for a tasty meal (135). Her immoral thoughts--as seen by the morals of the bible--and
blemished bodily figure shows that she thinks of herself as an outlier to her family and religion.
Through her poetry and literary reading of Emily Dickinson and Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, along

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with her complex notions expressed in palindromes and metaphors, she reassures herself that this
passion will help her develop an identity that disregards her physical nature. Would [Our Lord]
really condemn some children to eternal suffering just for the accident of a heathen birth, and
reward others for a privilege they did nothing to earn?... I found to my surprise that I no longer
believed in God. The other children still did apparently. As I limped back to my place they turned
their eyes away from my stippled sinners knees (171). Having no faith in religion since the
beginning, was an essential aspect of Adas character because of how it considerably influences
Adah. Her perspective on her family members is now--and has been--altered along with her
moral and religious values. Ultimately, Adas true character is one of little significance to her
family, but of substantial importance to the development of Adah and the basis of her authentic
identity.
Once Adah escapes her childhood past, she has the liberty to find her own convictions. I
was unprepared to accept that my whole sense of Adah was founded on a misunderstanding
between my body and brain(439). Adah denies the truth of the situation because the
misunderstanding of her disability is her impairment. She is forced to accept this fact and create
a new identity for herself. Throughout all the change she still maintains her childhood morals, I
could not accept the contract: that every child born human upon this earth comes with a
guarantee of perfect health and old age clutched in its fist(527). Without her slant, Adah still
believes that no one can have the assurance of health. Adah is cynical and she cannot deem the
possibility of perfection. Her changing family values are clearly emphasized when she says,I
dont have cats or children, I have viruses (530). Adah finds her passion in her viruses, as they
have no control over her. She can finally be the one in charge, not being forced by the bangala of

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her father's bible. With the absence of the binds from her family and her slant, Adah can finally
find her own identity.
What I carried out of the Congo on my crooked little back is a ferocious uncertainty
about the worth of a life. And now I am becoming a doctor (443). The cause of Adahs
transformation is many things; among them the thoughts of Ada, her defining slant, and the
closure of Ruth May. Adahs sorrow and loss is exhibited when she says, I am losing my slant
(439). Adahs slant defined her and made her unique from her sisters. Losing this meant losing
Ada and changing her identity once and for all. Adah explains herself by saying, I am a perfect
palindrome. Damn mad! (58). Thinking backwards (and poetically) was her way of
communicating and perceiving life in a different way; losing her slant was the first step to
losing Ada. This dramatically changes because her slant is lost; it was everything to her including
the way she was perceived. When Adah becomes content with knowing that a mother takes care
of her children from the bottom up (440) she realizes her self worth. Knowing this, Adah gains
respect for Orleanna. She accepts that she has taken the place of Ruth May and how she was the
youngest before Ruth May and the youngest after Ruth May because of the innocent childs
death. The same identity, family, and self worth are found both in Ada, and Adah, just in different
forms that have changed throughout the course of her life and struggles.
Adahs progression from Ada to Adah after losing both Ruth May and her slant was one
first overlooked that became one of liberty and a newly found righteousness. Through clever
literary devices, profound character thoughts, and the gradual opening and altering of her
personality, the significance of her character shines bright compared to those of her sisters.
Although Ada is ignored and pushed down in the beginning of the book, Adah, is able to find her

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true identity when she leaves her familys binds to chase after her dream of becoming a scientist.
Sincerity, science, stopped silence.

-Works CitedKingsolver, Barbara. The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel. New York: Harper Perennial, 1999. Print.