Get help from the best in academic writing.

Seeking Solace in Barbara Kingsolver’s The Bean Trees

Seeking Solace in The Bean Trees

Many aspects of life are explored in Barbara Kingsolver’s novel, The Bean Trees. A young woman named Marietta Greer from Kentucky wanted to strike out on her own, leaving behind everything she ever knew, just to start a new life. Many children want to do this at an early age so they can experience life on their own yet they don’t realize the dangers involved.. Everyone that leaves the solace of their own home needs loving support to keep them going through life.

Marietta Greer starts her journey by heading west across the United States in a run-down old car. She decides at the start that wherever the car breaks down will become her new home. When she stops at a diner one night for something to eat, she is suddenly left with a baby dropped off by an elderly Indian woman with no reasons why. Marietta tells her “If I wanted a baby I would have stayed in Kentucky” (24). Continuing her lonely trek, she changes her name to Taylor and ends up keeping the child and caring for her. When she finally arrives at her unknown destination, Taylor gets a job at a tire company working for a nice lady named Mattie and moves in with Lou Ann, also a single mother. She develops close friendships with them, and they all help each other through good times and bad. Taylor starts getting stronger feelings for the child, Turtle, and eventually adopts her through deceiving means with her new friends Estevan and Esperanza. Taylor keeps in touch with her mother, and she was thrilled her mother was supportive of her decision to adopt Turtle.

There are some things I would have changed about the novel to make it more interesting reading and to broaden the type of audience it addresses. In my opinion, the book was kind of targeted at a feminine audience, especially single mothers. When Taylor and Lou Ann get together, Lou Ann sounds kind of pathetic saying ” Who in the world would want to move in here with us” (102), yet they develop a strong friendship regardless. I had kind of a hard time focusing on what was going on and who was doing what mainly because the story wasn’t interesting enough to attract my attention. Perhaps by throwing in a little more suspense or more action, the novel would have been more fun to read.

Motherhood in Barbara Kingsolver’s The Bean Trees

Motherhood in The Bean Trees

In the novel, The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver, we watch as Taylor grows a great deal. This young woman takes on a huge commitment of caring for a child that doesn’t even belong to her. The friends that she acquired along the way help teach her about love and responsibility, and those friends become family to her and Turtle. Having no experience in motherhood, she muddles through the best she can, as all mothers do.

Marietta was raised in a small town in Kentucky. When she became an adult, she decided she needed a change. She wanted a different name and a different place to call home. She got in her Volkswagon, started driving, and on this journey she changed her name to Taylor. A stranger gave her a three year old Indian child to take care of, who she names Turtle. The two finally settle down in Tucson, where they live with a single mom who is also from a small town in Kentucky. Taylor works for a woman who hides political refugees in her home, and Taylor becomes good friends with two of them. These two refugees act as Turtle’s parents and sign over custody to Taylor, so that Turtle could become her daughter legally. Taylor was very unsure about whether or not she would be a good mom, but in the end she realizes that Turtle belongs with her, and that Tucson is home.

The first half of The Bean Trees was hard to stay interested in. Although the book had a lot of action, it could have been spread out more. It wasn’t until the middle of the book that we found out what was medically wrong with Turtle, why she was so lethargic. Considering this child was such a major part of Taylor’s life, and would change her future completely, she was not talked about as much as she could have been. It’s like half the time she forgot Turtle was there. “It’s funny how people don’t give that much thought to what kids want, as long as they’re being quiet”(280). I understand that Turtle was just dropped in Taylor’s lap, but I still think Turtle deserved to have more attention given to her than she did. I would have liked Turtle to have been the child that was taken from the refugees, the refugee woman showed her so much love.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.