What book has helped shape your perspective on the global community?

During the summer of 2013 my AP Literature and Composition class was assigned to read the book “The Poisonwood Bible”. I had heard groans of this book from the previous class and was not at all looking forward to it. However, by the second day of class, I learned that this book was going to change my life.
For those of you who haven’t read it, “The Poisonwood Bible” follows a missionary family as they move to the Congo in the 1959. The father, the righteous, trail blazer, is a Southern Baptist preacher, the mother is a southern belle wooed by the beauty of Christianity, and the four children, Rachel, Adah, Lea, and Ruth May are doomed to whatever fate their parents choose for them by going to the Congo.
PWB altered the way I view globalization, democracy, and missions. Throughout the novel, as tragedy and triumph take place, a theme is presented: What do we aim to do with it? The “it” being the knowledge of our ancestors’ history and guilt of our own history. Before I read this book, I had never thought about the negative side of globalization; I was gung-ho for increasing interconnections between nations. However, PWB opened my eyes to the negative side of globalization, especially when it leans more towards imperialism. The whole novel was centered around the Belgian invasion of Congo; how Belgium came crashing through the jungles of the Congo, then decided to grant the Congo independence without any aid in establishing a well functioning government, and then proceeded to work Congolese people practically to death in diamond mines and rubber forests. I had thought that the democratic system of the Western world was something that would help all countries function better. However, in PWB I saw a community that was founded on mutual communication until all parties are satisfied. The method of democracy that was forced onto the community did not go well, causing inner communal conflict that ended up wrecking a lot of the villages food supply.
I also began seeing mission trips in a new light. Instead of seeing mission trips as a selfless way to fulfill one’s faith, I saw mission trips as white man’s way of giving us an excuse to enforce our ideas of governing and societal demographics on nations that have been well functioning in their own way for centuries.

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