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Literature Analysis: The Bean Trees

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They say that growing up is hard to do, and it certainly was for Taylor Greer, which is why she couldn't wait to leave her home in Pittman County, Kentucky. The novel, The Bean Trees, written by Barbara Kingsolver, follows Taylor's story of growing up, leaving home, and accepting responsibility. Along the way Taylor is given a child, Turtle, and she struggles with accepting the responsibility of raising a child. Kingsolver's choices for point of view, setting, conflict, theme, characterization, and style throughout the plot help create an uplifting story about love and what it means to be a family.
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver is a story told in first person, except in chapters two and four, which are told in third person limited omniscient. This perspective allows us to hear Taylor's thoughts and allows us to let us see things the way she sees them: “She wore a long, straight dress made of some amazing woven material that brought to mind the double rainbow Turtle and I saw on our first day in Tucson: twice as many colors as you knew existed” (Kingsolver 102-103). In the two chapters that are in third person were done that way to introduce a new character, Lou Ann, and her thoughts: “Lou Ann Ruiz lived in Tucson, but thought of herself as just an ordinary Kentuckian a long way from home” (Kingsolver 24).
The primary setting of the story is Tucson, Arizona. In chapter three, Taylor and Turtle “crossed the Arizona state line at sunup” (Kingsolver 35). The setting helped contribute to Taylor's characterization and plot. The difference between Arizona and Kentucky symbolizes Taylor's transformation from beginning of the novel compared to the end. Also, the weather in Arizona is how they wound up stuck there: “the car was cov...

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...etic, it incorporates humor with realism to accurately depict the lives of everyday people. She uses vivid imagery to provoke thought and emotions. Taylor at the end of the novel said “ [Turtle] watched the dark highway and entertained me with her vegetable-soup song, except now there were people mixed in with the beans and potatoes: Dwayne Ray, Mattie, Esperanza, Lou Ann, and all the rest. And me. I was the main ingredient” (Kingsolver 232).This quote is a metaphor, how all of them were like vegetable-soup, part of one, big family. Now that Turtle said it, it brings happiness and closure to the reader.
Throughout the story, Taylor grows as a person and learns what it means to be part of a family. Kingsolver's choices for point of view, setting, conflict, theme, characterization, and style help support the plot and create an uplifting story with a positive message.
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