Socratic Seminar Makeup: The Life and Works of Barbara Kingsolver

Topics: Barbara Kingsolver, Human rights, The Bean Trees Pages: 2 (451 words) Published: September 19, 2013
Socratic Seminar Make-Up
Samantha Walker

She is a human rights activist with numerous awards for her writing including the title “One of the most Important Writers of the 20th Century” by Reader’s Digest. She has written 13 books and won the National Book Prize of South Africa, American Library Association Award, and is an author on Oprah’s book list. Who is this marvelous writer? Her name is Barbara Kingsolver. In her first book, The Bean Trees, her life and political views are greatly displayed throughout her writing and her choice of themes.

Barbara grew up in rural Kentucky and later lived in Arizona while pregnant with her first child. Oddly enough, in The Bean Trees the character Missy/Taylor Greer grew up in Kentucky and acquired a child on the way to her unknown destination, which turned out to be Arizona. Although Kingsolver denies that her past and Taylor’s are related, they have many similarities that make readers think that they are one in the same. Kingsolver’s life has definitely influenced her writing and was even shaped around her past.

Kingsolver is a big supporter of human rights. In The Bean Trees, she constantly is addressing the fact that Estevan and Esperanza (a married couple of illegal immigrants from Guatemala) are not safe and it’s unjust to not allow them to live in America. Throughout the book they are worried about this and we get an insight into what Barbara thinks about illegal immigrants and how her political views affect her writing about it.

In almost all of Kingsolver’s novels, the themes of motherhood and feminism can be found. You can also see the themes of divorce, political injustice, and child abuse quite often. In this specific novel, all of these themes are present in some form or another. Motherhood is present with Taylor taking care of Turtle and feminism is present by having all the main characters being female. You can also see divorce through Lou Ann’s divorce with Angel, while political...
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