Abandonment in The Bean Trees

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Abandonment in The Bean Trees

Abandonment is a feeling known to many people. There are different types and levels of abandonment. In The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver, many characters have been introduced to the feeling of abandonment. Abandoning or being abandoned is constant in the novel and Kingsolver uses it to link all of the characters together.

Taylor Greer has lived in Kentucky all her life. Yet, the life available to her in Kentucky is not what she always dreamed of: "none of these sights had so far inspired me to get hogtied to a future as a tobacco farmer's wife" (3). Living with her mother, Taylor becomes more independent and striven to find a better life. Taylor's father disappeared before she could even remember what he looks like: "And for all I ever knew of my own daddy I can't say we weren't except for Mama swearing up and down that he was nobody I knew and was long gone besides" (2). Taylor's father's abandonment contributes to Taylor's dislike in men: "To hear you tell it, you'd think man was only put on this earth to keep urinals from going to waste" (112). She does not trust any men and Kingsolver displays this by not adding many male characters to the novel. Taylor feeling of being abandoned by her father scars her, even thought she does not express it clearly.

Taylor's want and need for a better life than the one she has in Kentucky inspires her to leave. With the money she earns from her job counting blood cells at the Pittman County Hospital, Taylor buys a '55 Volkswagen bug that is falling apart, "In this car I intended to drive out of Pittman County one day and never look back, except maybe for Mama" (10). Taylor's mother wanted the best for her and always expected the best from her;...

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Abandonment plays a major role in Barbara Kingsolver's novel. It links all the characters together. Once one abandons, or is abandoned, they find someone else. They all help each other grow and become stronger. Even with something as horrible and hurtful as abandonment, hope can be found. Taylor explains it perfectly to Turtle when she talks about bean trees, "'There's a whole invisible system for helping out the plant that you'd never guess was there.' I loved this idea. 'It's just the same as with people. The way Edna has Virgie, and Virgie has Edna, and Sandi has Kid Central Station, and everyone has Mattie" (227-228). Everyone is linked together and each person has someone to help. This whole cycle is caused by abandonment. The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver shows that can be hope and love found in any situation, even in abandonment.

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