Bean Trees

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Huy Ngo
P7
12/09/12
The Bird Plant
On her journey to self-discovery, Taylor Greer manages to overcome her weaknesses and start a new way of life and while traveling she obtains a small Indian child (whom she subsequently names Turtle) who would later prove to have a huge impact on the course of her life. Throughout the novel, The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver, one discovers Taylor and Turtle’s process to obtain a better life: to escape, to seek a new way of life and to discover oneself by depending on one another. Symbols constantly present inside of the storyline appear as subtle details throughout the plot. Kingsolver uses subjects such as birds to represent Taylor and Turtle's situations and plants to symbolize growth and dependence. Throughout the novel, birds represent Taylor and more importantly Turtle’s plights; as they grow, the birds used to represent them change as well. Shortly after Taylor takes Turtle under her wing, they come across a family of quail on their picnic and Taylor remarks “I supposed we could have honked and waved and it wouldn’t have raised any more pandemonium than this poor mother already had to deal with … After a long minute or two the quail got her family herded off the road into some scraggly bushes” (129). Kingsolver makes a reference to Taylor and Turtle’s relationship through the usage of the quail family as a symbol, as Taylor sympathizes with the Quail’s motherhood and the burdens brought by her chicks or in Taylor’s case, Turtle. This also gives insight towards Taylor’s thoughts; since she originally had avoided early motherhood the chance encounter with Turtle provided a dilemma in a situation where she must throw away her previous plans. Taylor and Turtle go to the doctor’s to find a clues of Turtle’s past and as the doctor puts Turtle’s x-rays on a window, Taylor sees across into a garden and thinks to herself " There was a cactus with bushy arms...
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