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Ruth May Poisonwood Bible Analysis

The Poisonwood Bible by B. Kingsolver that depicts the life of European family in post-colonial Congo. In this regard, Ruth May, the youngest daughter, is a particularly noteworthy character because she helps to reveal the perception of the surrounding world and Kilanga community. In fact, she is quite different from adults and other girls, who are growing mature that makes this character particularly useful for understanding the relationship between Europeans and the local population.


The choice of this character and the scene, when she gets acquainted with local children to make friends with them, is particularly important for the entire book because it uncovers that Ruth and other children are similar, in spite of huge difference between children. This scene is important because it helps the audience to understand the wide gap that existed between Europeans and local population, when the European family has just arrived to Congo. The girl attempts to make friends with local children and in the course of their communication, it turns out that they are just children and there is no difference between them. Even though they have different background, they still are children and they have common interests and they may grow up quite similar as they play together and share common interests.


Ruth May makes friends with the children of Kilanga. She is new in the village and she is a complete stranger in the village. The first acquaintance of the five years old girl with African children reveals the wide gap between the children and the girl because she is European, whereas African children had nothing in common with European culture. Nevertheless, soon Ruth and local children find common interests and are eager to play with each other. Therefore, the first impression Ruth had of local children as a sort of primitive creatures fades away soon and she makes friends with local children.


The scene should take place in the village, when Ruth encounters local children for the first time and starts talking to them. They attempts to establish communication but have difficulties with using verbal communication. Instead, they use non-verbal communication and start playing with each other. The play makes children much closer to each other and closes the language barriers and cultural gaps that existed between children. In such a way, the scene will reveal that children are similar in spite of the difference in their background.

Character depiction and casting

The characters should include Ruth May, a five years old girl. Three African children living in Kilanga are two boys and one girl. The characters encounter each other. At first, they attempt to speak, but fail to understand each other

Physical position and expression

Ruth is just walking down the village. She wants to play but she does not know anyone. So, she is walking to and fro. She is getting bored but, suddenly, encounters two boys and a girl from the village. In such a way, they make their first encounter and they do not know each other. Nevertheless, the girl approaches the African children and they make their first acquaintance. As they do not know the language of each other they fail to speak properly. As a result, they start communicating to each other and use gestures to understand each other. Steadily, they start playing with each other. As the children start playing they forget about the difference in their language and they just become friends. They communicate effectively and they do not need language to speak to each other to understand each other. In such a way, children eliminate language and cultural barriers through play.

Setting location

The location of the scene is the village. Ruth is walking down the village and encounter three local children right on the street. The background contains some huts and people walking to and fro, busy with their own affairs. Adults pay little attention to children, while children get involved into the play.


Dialogues between children are few because they do not understand each other. Instead, children use the body language to communicate with each other.

Film techniques

The camera focuses on children. At first, the general plan is show. Steadily the camera moves closer to Ruth. Then the camera changes angles to show the three African children and returns back to Ruth. As children communicate to each other the camera switches from Ruth to children. The camera uses the close-ups to show emotions of children and their efforts to understand each other. No special effects are needed in this scene just the decoration of an African village.

Sounds and music

There will be sounds of jungles and domestic animals to create the impression of the live village, where people do their regular job and where cattle and domestic animals are cultivated. It is possible to use authentic African music on the background to bring in the specificity of the village and its cultural background.

Works Cited:
Kingsolver, B. The Poisonwood Bible. New York: Routledge, 2009.