Click here to Download Seeds of Change PDF Book by Priscilla Leder English having PDF Size 1.4 MB and No of Pages 309.
When Kingsolver was seven, her father undertook a medical exchange to the Congo, “a place that was even more desperately in need of medical care than Nicholas County” (Mendes 309). What the parents presented to their children as a family adventure turned out to be more arduous than they had anticipated: there was no running water; supplies were dropped from a small plane once a month.
Seeds of Change PDF Book by Priscilla Leder
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Nothing was clean, and nothing was safe” (Wagner-Martin 18). Though the village children found the young Americans exotic, pulling at Kingsolver’s long hair because it didn’t look real to them, they accepted and played with their visitors (Wagner-Martin 18). Her experience in Africa permanently widened her sense of what was “normal,” in physical appearance or in material culture.
“For the first time I faced the possibility that everything I had assumed to be true . . . could be absolutely false, in another place” (Rehm interview quoted in Wagner-Martin 19). After the Congo, human variety, like the variety of the natural world, became lived experience, something to be explored and celebrated rather than observed at a distance.
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Later on, when Kingsolver was in the seventh grade, her family undertook another medical mission, shorter and relatively more comfortable, to the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean, among the Windward Islands. Both missions grew out of Dr. Kingsolver’s “magnificent compunction to be useful in the world,” as his daughter describes it (Mendes 309).
Kingsolver assimilated that compunction along with her appreciation of the natural world and of human variety: “My parents always gave me to know I could make a difference—and I’d better make one” (Kerr 54). Kingsolver’s upbringing expanded her horizons through reading as well as through adventures abroad and in the nearby woods.
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“When I was growing up our TV broke, and it took twelve years to get it fixed because my dad just hated TV and really didn’t want one in the house” (Perry 149). Instead, the whole family read books, including the Encyclopedia Britannica; “[m]y parents read aloud to us for years, I mean, even into adolescence” (Mendes 308).
Home entertainment included music: her parents and siblings played a variety of instruments; Kingsolver studied piano assiduously and played clarinet in the school band. Like many avid readers, she began to write as a child, in “little diaries and spiral-bound notebooks” (Mendes 307). Later, she entered and won essay contests.
Waxing so enthusiastic about topics like soil conservation that she imagined that “the judges got together and said, 3 Introduction ‘This child is histrionic about soil conservation—we better give her the prize again’” (Mendes 310). Though her modest, rural, intellectual home brought Kingsolver lasting gifts, it did not prepare her especially well for the experience of adolescence in the 1960s South. Seeds of Change PDF Book
Her frugal, practical parents dressed her in a cousin’s hand-me-downs and “black lace-up oxfords,” which they “perceived to have orthopedic value” but which made her “the Bride of Frankenstein” to her classmates (“Life without Go-Go Boots” 54–55). Her appearance, five foot nine by sixth grade, and very thin, exacerbated her image of herself as “a collection of all the wrong things.
Too tall and shy to be interesting to boys. Too bookish” (“Letter to a Daughter” 145). Attention from boys was dangerous as well as desirable: “The story I got from the world around me on how to behave with boys . . . boiled down to this: Boys want only one thing, which is to have sex with you, which is too nasty even to talk about, and it’s your job to prevent it” (“Letter to a Daughter” 151).
The painful self-doubt and confusion of this period, like her more positive early experiences, expanded the range of her vision—this time, to encompass the wounded and the outcast. “From the vantage point of invisibility I explored the psychology of the underdog, the one who can’t be what others desire but who might still learn to chart her own hopes” (“In Case” 42). Seeds of Change PDF Book
She states in The Land Before Her that women gained access to the West by connecting themselves both literarily and figuratively with the garden. Embodying both the characteristics of the natural and procreative, gardens evolved into symbols of the home. Cultivating a garden in the West provided women a claim or admittance into a masculine world, if only to a portion of the experience.
As a garden must have constant attention, motion is difficult for those who garden. Women, therefore, gained access to the frontier yet were excluded from the adventure that men sought. Despite the obvious oppositions, Barbara Kingsolver finds a way to bring them together in The Bean Trees.
Merging these characteristics: the desire for movement and the desire to tend a home, Kingsolver is able to express a female voice that has heretofore been lost or subsumed by the white male experience. In many ways, Kingsolver creates a character who becomes that individual Kolodny speaks of at the end of The Land Before Her. Seeds of Change PDF Book
For Kingsolver’s main character becomes both “adventurer and domesticator” (Kolodny 240). By combining these two figures, Kingsolver fashions a new American mythology that unites both male and female imaginative constructs. The attempt is not an easy one, as access to the West has almost always been achieved, whether the individual is male or female, through white masculine constructs.
In West of Everything, Jane Tompkins points out the difficulty women have had in gaining admittance to this masculine world, especially access to the role of the hero. Although Tompkins deals chiefly with the genre of the Western, she does question the type of connection women have to the genre as a whole.
Her findings reveal the female desire for this access through their own attempts to “imagine” themselves within the Western. Tompkins found that some women found imagining inclusion impossible, but for those who could, awkward manipulations would take place in order to create a place for the female within this world: Seeds of Change PDF Book Download
Yet this swaggering fin de siècle exuberance belied an unstable national infrastructure and increasingly precarious relationships with other cultures around the globe. Despite clear signs of local and international unrest, many conservative ideologues were peddling the notion that “we”—the United States—had rightfully achieved our abiding place as uncontested “leader of the free world.”
Even some of our more dissident pundits were optimistic, capitulating with a presumably objective media that America’s collective conscience had been raised sufficiently to justify whatever actions our nationalist ideals dictated.1 But there remained a few social critics who never lost sight of the consequences of this sweeping sense of entitlement.
Through art, poetry, and prose they revealed how often our ostensibly modern humanitarian ideologies reflected only a cursory nod toward “non-Western,” immigrant, or indigenous cultures, and an often specious (when not self-serving) concern for the welfare of marginalized Others. Seeds of Change PDF Book Download
With a keen eye trained on the zeitgeist, Barbara Kingsolver stands out as a popular author whose work has persistently questioned the paradigms of moral certitude, material meritocracy, and cultural dominance that constitute “the American way.” For readers more familiar with her novels, High Tide in Tucson serves as a classic example of how Kingsolver’s nonfiction is as unconventional.
Thought provoking, and compellingly readable as her fiction. The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver, particularly crystallizes the principal themes that have raised debate on Conrad’s novel—race and gender. Published in 1998, the novel soon became a critical success and a best seller.
Heart of Darkness appears explicitly in Kingsolver’s bibliography at the end of her novel, and both novels denounce the vices of Western imperialism through the adventures of white people in the Congo. Both novels presaged public protests against abuses in the Congo, specifically the excesses of the Leopoldian regime in the Congo and the involvement of Western powers in the murder of Patrice Lumumba. Seeds of Change PDF Book Download
Interestingly, The Poisonwood Bible was published exactly a century after Conrad started to write Heart of Darkness. Whereas Heart of Darkness tells the first chapter of the colonization in the Congo, since the novel is set a few years after the creation of the Congo Free State, ruled by King Leopold II, The Poisonwood Bible writes the last chapter of colonization as the novel deals with the Congolese independence.
Despite their similarities, the two works differ in many ways, featuring different protagonists and addressing different issues. Most important, The Poisonwood Bible was written by a woman and is narrated by female protagonists. In her article “Into the Heart of Light,” Pamela Demory analyzes Kingsolver’s novel as “an homage to Conrad”.
But suggests also that The Poisonwood Bible’s narrative perspective offers “the most intriguing commentary on Heart of Darkness” (183) as the first rewriting of Heart of Darkness from a woman’s point of view.1 I maintain that The Poisonwood Bible is not only an homage to Conrad’s novel but also to the literary debate surrounding Heart of Darkness. Seeds of Change PDF Book Download
Kingsolver addresses themes that generated much discussion around the older novel; specifically, feminist debate on Heart of Darkness is reflected in The Poisonwood Bible. According to feminist critics such as Johanna Smith and Nina Pelikan Straus, Heart of Darkness sustains patriarchal dominance on two different levels.
In Marlow’s derogatory representation of female characters and in the narrative perspectives and artistic conventions used by the author, which impose male conventions on women readers. In The Poisonwood Bible, Kingsolver seems to revise Heart of Darkness both through the novel’s thematic approach to gender and through its narrative perspective.
Prominently displayed in the chapter’s title, human bones, specifically Hallie’s, emerge even under a kind of erasure, through deflection, comparison, and substitution—a perfect example of language that meets the conflicting demands of self-protection and truth-telling that constitute the dialectic of trauma. Seeds of Change PDF Book Free
Though personal stories of trauma survivors are especially prone to such devices, Mark Freeman’s analysis of autobiographical narratives suggests that order and clarity in every life story are imposed retrospectively, with the following implication: “Perhaps . . . we ought to be paying greater attention to ‘discontinuities,’ ‘ruptures,’ ‘fissures’ . . .”
Animal Dreams illustrates how this approach is necessary for understanding the words of traumatized people. The end of Codi’s first chapter offers a telling example, as she describes walking to the place she will stay through an orchard whose unnatural rows remind her of a vast military cemetery in northern France, showing how persistently her memory brings up what she fears in deflected, substitute images.
After noting that the orchards of Grace are “full of peacocks, living more or less wild and at the mercy of coyotes but miraculously surviving in droves” (14), she seems to stumble into a kind of horrifying primal scene involving one such bird. Perceiving from a distance that a peacock is being beaten by children elicits the following sudden, fissure-like response from Codi: “I’m not the moral guardian in my family. Seeds of Change PDF Book Free
Instead, Kingsolver portrays a reinhabitory effort at work in the depiction of contemporary urban environments. Australian critic Margaret Henderson observes that inner-city spaces are no longer solely the setting for novels about decay and waste or “personal growth and experimentation, or political awareness.”
Rather, these beautiful and natural city-spaces “are potentially emancipatory and feminine spaces” because they do not recognize the boundaries that separate nature from city, woman from man, abled from disabled (79). Henderson describes these novels, which usually have female, disabled protagonists, as grunge fiction.
Ultimately, these characters give birth to a discourse that embraces permeability and hybridity. Reading the urban through disability studies leads us to recognize the city not only as a place of violence, where people compete in the concrete jungle, but also as a feminine, healing, and domestic space that promotes permeable borders. Seeds of Change PDF Book Free
In so doing, it invites a postcolonial reading that allows a “city” to be a “process” rather than a static space—a process for reimagining the nature/culture schism. In both The Poisonwood Bible and Animal Dreams, the city-space is reimagined as a wild space, to use Gary Snyder’s term, embracing a variety of identities, and offering freedom.
And wildness—a different way of being “abled” and “healed”—to its inhabitants. Though many of the poems in Another America/Otra América work by estranging ordinary language and the cultural narratives that employ it, the collection ends on an affirmation of the power of a familiar, seemingly sentimental phrase: “you have your mother’s eyes.”
The poem “Your Mother’s Eyes” is addressed to Maura Lopez, whose mother was raped while in prison for “painting walls” (115). Maura’s mother, Lesbia, chose to give birth to Maura and to see the world hopefully: “even the men in boots were treated with kindness” (115). Maura may look like her mother, but she has her mother’s eyes in a deeper sense. Seeds of Change PDF Book Free
She has eyes that can see hope for a new beginning even amid violence and hate. The cliché, shared and ordinary, is shown to be a source of meaningfulness and hope, as well as a tool for deceit. Kingsolver must not make language seem so accessible that she allows it to be a tool for the naturalization of the evils she wishes to undo, but she cannot estrange it so deeply that it is not meaningful and useful.