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The Bean Trees

In the book The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver, there is a young girl named Taylor who did not want to be like the typical girls from Kentucky. She wanted to go and get out of the small town. She got in her old beat up car and traveled throughout the United States, until she landed in Arizona. When she was there she not only had to deal with herself, but she now had a little girl who she named Turtle. This was not her daughter; instead someone she barely knew handed her off to Taylor.

Turtle was not your average toddler, she was what some people call retarded or slow, but Taylor did not even notice that, all she saw was a little girl in need of help. Even though Taylor could not give Turtle a life of riches, she knew she could at least do better than before. Throughout the rest of the book Taylor experiences many events that portray evil. “Turtle’s main goal in life, other than hanging on to things, seemed to be to pass unnoticed” (81). Turtle was a mentally slow child.

When she was given to Taylor the woman said that her mother had died and that the little girl had no home. Taylor was just being a good person and taking Turtle, so that she could live in a better place. Once she had Turtle she took her back to the hotel and gave her a bath. When she did she realized that the black and blue marks on her body was not just dirt, but bruises. Taylor had grown up in a loving house with a loving mother who taught her the necessities of life.

Seeing Turtle and beat up and scared broke Taylor’s heart. There was a cactus with bushy arms and a coat of yellow spines as thick as fur. A bird had built her nest in it. In and out she flew among the horrible spiny branches, never once hesitating. You just couldn’t imagine how she’d made a home in there” (130). Which makes Turtle’s new life, not glamorous, but a lot better than it could have been. Turtle was not the only person in Taylor’s life. There were two immigrants that were friends of hers they were Esperanza and Esteven. She knew that they were in the country illegally, but Taylor did not care.

They were nice people who had been tortured in their life as well. The government had been trying to get them and everyone seemed to be very rude to them. “You can go and visit heaven. What? You see a room just like the first one, the same table, the same pot of stew, the same spoons as long as a sponge mop. But these people are all happy and fat” (113). Esteven meant that there is people will help you in heaven, but no one will help you in hell. He was influencing that he was in hell because someone had kidnapped his very own kid, and the government is out to get rid of them.

This shows how their whole life they have been trying to run away from evil. Turtle was a very unlucky and lucky girl. She was unlucky in the sense that she had been abused and almost lost and kidnapped. She was in the park one day playing with Lou Ann’s child, when this scary man came up and was going to take her. Her babysitter put up her cane and scared the man away. Turtle did not just forget about it though. She went on not talking to anyone about anything, even Taylor. Taylor had always been very strong when hard or scary situations came upon them.

In this case she was not, she was going crazy worried that Turtle would never talk again. She also started feeling sorry for herself, like she wasn’t good enough to be a mother to Turtle. She soon came to realize that she was the best life that Turtle could have right now. Eventually Turtle talked again but it she felt most comfortable with Taylor. Throughout this book there were many bad experiences that happened to Taylor. She found a sad little girl that was abandoned and bruised, friends that were in trouble with the government, and a new daughter that was almost kidnapped.

Even throughout all of those hard times Taylor managed to not “freak out” she always looked at life in the positive eye. Taylor is a strong woman, and even though people have their weaknesses she was a great mother to Turtle. Out of all the evil in her life she made it look so simple to deal with. “…I was not the smartest or even particularly outstanding but I was there and staying out of trouble and I intended to finish” (3). Taylor was not the perfect mother or a perfect person, but she had a great heart and a great passion to do the right thing, and that she was amazing at.