In the three books, The Poisonwood Bible, The Bean Trees and Pigs In Heaven, Barbara Kingsolver chose to use the stylistic device of multiple narrators as a creative way to carry out the themes of the novel and establish the tone. This device is used extensively in The Poisonwood Bible in which Kingsolver states that when she was preparing to write, she knew that she wanted to use this structure, because it was it was ?necessary for the theme of this novel even though I knew it would be quite difficult to pull off, from the point of view of craft. I spent almost a year just honing the different voices, practicing telling the same scene from all five different angles, until I had differentiated them to the point that the reader would instantly know who was speaking, just from a sentence or two.?
This novel is basically about what all the characters did in Africa, and then how they felt about it years later. Every character has a unique view of the events that happen in Africa and it impacts each of them differently. Kingsolver says she?d feel like she was insulting her readers if she offered only one view of the events that transpired because the issues the characters dealt with were so huge. By getting into the heads of each of the characters, Kingsolver successfully creates not just one main complex character, but five.
This device opens up possibilities to a writer that having only one main character would otherwise shut out. She had the opportunity to explore several themes that didn?t necessarily have to correlate to one another. There is a wide range of reactions the characters could have had, from absolute paralyzing guilt on the one end to ?What, me worry? I didn?t do it!? on the other. Orleanna, the mother, is the paralyzed one here, and the angry teenager Rachel is ?what, me worry???
"I?m a political writer. I make no bones about it," Kingolver says, "When I see something that makes me angry, my impulse is to act to change it. That?s why I write the kind of books that I do." While writing The Poisonwood Bible, her primary goal was to get her readers to understand the circumstances in Congo and to care. But secondly, she wrote this to criticize American involvement in the assassination of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba and the installation of the dictator Mobutu. She wanted to write a novel that was about family and culture, but wasn?t afraid to mix literature with advocacy. By taking the different girl?s points of view, she was able to let each girl concentrate on one theme. Leah, Adah, and Ruth May, three of the daughters, take positions dealing with social activism, empirical analysis, and spirituality, respectively.
The baggage that comes with the use of this writing style is that unreliable narrators often show up. Sometimes a reader can identify if a character is wrong, but not always. In The Poisonwood Bible, the reader will quickly realize that Rachael is often confused about the meanings of several words, therefore making statements like; ?it was a tapestry of injustice!? which could sometimes confuse the reader. This is one of Kingsolver?s ways of differentiating the characters, and trying to add humor to the novel.
In The Bean Trees, Kingsolver?s first book, she takes the point of view of the two main characters, the spunky Taylor, and her soon-to-be roommate Lou-Ann. She takes a slightly different approach in Pigs In Heaven, a novel she wrote as a sequel to The Bean Trees. In this book, she further explores the usage of this multi-character style of writing although here it is used as a way for the audience to understand the whole plot, as opposed to just serving as a vehicle for the theme. In this book, as opposed to her other works, she takes a third person approach, following the main character Taylor Greer for a large portion of the story, but switching over to Annawake Fourkiller, the lawyer trying to take Taylor?s child away, several times. This helps the reader understand where Fourkiller is coming from, and what her motivation is in trying to take back the child.
Barbara Kingsolver demonstrates her excellent control over the stylistic devices she used in her three books, The Poisonwood Bible, The Bean Trees and Pigs In Heaven. The choice to use this literary device of multiple narrators served as a creative way to carry out the themes of the novels, establish the tone, and give the reader a well-rounded view of the events that took place.

Kingsolver 8.1 of 10 on the basis of 2430 Review.