Thursday, August 8, 2013

Poisonwood Bible alignment system

Depending on your interest and whether you've read my previous two posts, this will either be further explanation of my beloved alignment system using characters that you know well (or at least I hope you do... less than a week before school starts........ The Poisonwood Bible is 500+ pages.......... if you haven't started reading it then GOOD LUCK), or simply notes on the characters in The Poisonwood Bible with some slightly obscure terminology.

Leah is Lawful Good. She is very devoted to her father and Christianity, and wholeheartedly follows her parents' and the church's rules. She is also open-minded and makes friends with the children in Kilanga, and cares for the well-being of others. I mentioned in my first description of Lawful Good characters that they often face internal conflicts between their laws and morals; sure enough, this happens at the beginning of Book Four. (Spoiler alert) After the vote against Jesus in the church, Leah suddenly begins openly defying her father, even though beforehand she had always highly respected him and followed his orders without question. I think this was caused by two things: first of all, she had thought of Father as being powerful, impervious, and always right. Suddenly all the villagers vote against Jesus and he loses all his power. In Leah's eyes, his god-like illusion is shattered. Secondly, Leah has a law vs. moral conflict: she knows enough about the villagers to know that they are good, but they have turned against the church, which Leah also sees as good (although by my system, the church is lawful, not good [see my caveman metaphor in my last post]). How can this be? Either the villagers are not as good as she thought because they have shunned the church, or the church wasn't good in the first place. In the end, she chooses the villagers over her father and the church. This event marks an alignment change for Leah; from Book Four on, she is Neutral Good.

Adah is True Neutral. She doesn't care much about following Christianity or social customs in general (for example, she prefers not to talk, even though she can), but doesn't go out of her way to cause chaos either. Likewise, she also doesn't make any particular efforts to help or hurt people either way.

Rachel is Slightly Lawful Neutral. She's too greedy and self-centered to be good, but she won't hurt people out of malice or spite, so she isn't evil either. Her strong devotion to American social customs and refusal to accept any other way of life is why I think of her as lawful, but since she often doesn't behave according to her parents' rules, she isn't very much so. Also, even though she doesn't feel obligated to follow the Bible to the letter, she seems to respect it and is quick to judge others who don't (from Book Five, "...'Thou shalt not kill,' I replied. 'That's not just our way of thinking. It happens to be in the Bible.'").

Ruth May is so young, it's hard to tell her alignment with any certainty; she is definitely good, but I'm not sure how lawful she'll end up being (it seems to me that morality doesn't change, but lawfulness often does change with age). My guess is that she'll probably turn out Neutral Good with Lawful tendencies or Lawful Good, like Leah.

Mother is Neutral Good. She'll do anything to protect her daughters, and usually follows her husband's orders and Christianity, but occasionally defies his rules (she doesn't really like following them; the only reason she's staying with him is because of their children) and isn't really a true Christian.

The Reverend is Strongly Lawful Neutral, given his extreme devotion to Christianity and stubborn unwillingness to accept any viewpoint other than his own. He can't be classified as Good because his motivation of going to Africa is not out of goodwill for the Africans; really, it's motivated by spreading Christianity, and he hasn't shown any other Good actions towards the villagers, making him morally Neutral. He could also be classified as Lawful Stupid (an unofficial alignment that encompasses anyone that is so devoted to being lawful that it becomes detrimental to themselves or their party) because his strict adherence to the Bible and his refusal to compromise on anything (ex. baptism, women's clothing customs, etc.) is alienating the villagers and actually working against his mission.

The people of Kilanga vary in alignment, but tend towards Good. However, the Reverend sees the villagers (and the entire African population) as Always Chaotic Stupid because they refuse to accept Christianity (chaotic) and therefore won't go to heaven (stupid). Basically, he's so [lawful] stupid that he thinks everyone else is [chaotic] stupid. (I'm having fun here ^_^)

Anatole is Chaotic Good. He genuinely cares for the well-being of others (white and black) and is willing to oppose a tyrranical government in order to make the Congo a better place.

Axelroot is True Neutral. He's not really devoted to anything; he works for the government, but only for the money (and is prepared to cheat the government in order to get more cash). He saves Rachel from the Congo and pays for all her stuff, but that's just because he wants a girlfriend (and thanks to his generosity with his money, Rachel is obligated to give him whatever he wants [you know what I mean]-- so the arrangement works for him). In other words, he's only out for himself, and does whatever is convenient.

Below I've arranged these characters (plus a few others to fill space) on the 5x5 alignment diagram. Thanks for reading!

Mobutu     Reverend Price     Leah (1-4)
        Rachel     Ruth May
White plantation owners, etc.     Adah
    Leah (4-7)
Orleanna Price

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