The Bean Trees - Tone

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Don’t Be Too Serious

Let’s say that someone handed you something unexpected. It could be anything: a computer, book, even a guitar! However, what if it was something of great value? What if it was a baby that was handed to you? Odds are, you’d probably freak out and hand the baby over to the authorities or something similar to that. But not Taylor Greer in the novel The Bean Trees! The words that Barbara Kingsolver chooses to use show a tone of informality and humor.

One way Kingsolver establishes an informal tone is by using long, run on sentences and everyday words. When Taylor gets a job at Tuscon after she stops traveling, she says, “I lasted six days at the Burger Derby before I got in a fight with the manager and threw my red-so-called jockey cap in the trash compactor and walked out. I would have thrown the whole uniform in there, but I didn’t feel like giving him a free show” (Kingsolver 88). In this quote, Kingsolver shows informality by making the first sentence extremely long, and the second sentence shows humor when Taylor jokes about not wanting to give him a “free show.” Kingston also uses words that people use in everyday conversations, thus creating an even more informal tone.

Another way Kingsolver shows humor is by what Taylor names the baby that is handed to her. When Taylor first meets Lou Ann, she asks, “’How do you know her name’s Turtle?’” Taylor replies, “’I don’t. I named her that’” (Kingsolver 97). The fact that Taylor chose to name the baby “Turtle” shows humor. Taylor could have chosen any other name… A name “suitable” for a baby girl. However, she chose the name “Turtle.” Turtles are sea animals, and it’s rare for someone to be named “Turtle.” Why would Taylor have chosen that particular name for the baby? Kingsolver most likely wanted to convey a light, humorous tone for her

An informal tone is created by Kingsolver when Taylor speaks. When she tells Estavan about feeling like a foreigner, she says “’Sometimes I feel like a...
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