How Do You Cite An Edited Book In Chicago Style An Evaluation of Friends and Place in the Bean Trees, a Book by Barbara Kingsolver

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An Evaluation of Friends and Place in the Bean Trees, a Book by Barbara Kingsolver

Slinking through life, setting and achieving low goals, and looking forward to nothing but more of the same in the future, is not the life many want to live. Taylor Greer, the main character in the book, Bean Tree, by Barbara Kingsolver, in the town whose inhabitants’ lives are foretold. He wants to break free and travel, but leaving his mother is one of the hardest things he has ever done. Barbara Kingsolver, however, conveys the theme of friendship rather than personal freedom as Taylor navigates life. The message – don’t look for a place, then look for friends; but look to friends, and then make your place – is clearly stated by the key points of evidence in the book. In reading the book, one can see that this message is only shown at the beginning, but by the last chapter it is clear. The characters of Taylor, Lou Ann and Turtle are the best representations of this theme in the book.

Taylor wanted to escape from the place where she was forced to find friends throughout her childhood. He traveled west to find a place other than his own city where he could live. Although he started living in a city because of the tire, he quickly found friends and decided to make it his new home. His physical place is with his friends in Arizona but as the story continues, one can see that his place in the big picture is with Turtle. He said to Estevan, “[…] I spent the first half of my life avoiding parenting and relationships, and now I count them as blessings” (137). It is at this time that Kingsolver suggests that Taylor turns from not wants Turtle to do her job as a mother. Taylor sees Lou Ann and the Turtles as her friends, she sees a place like her mother is – always accepting what she does and always supporting her.

The second example, Lou Ann Ruiz, a mother and recently separated from her husband, is difficult to live with everyday life. He has low self-esteem and considers everyone else’s opinion better than his own. He holds the idea that his place is with Angel, even though he has withdrawn his love for her and has left her; He holds the idea that since he loves Angel still, it should be his place. Since he is holding on to the love that he cannot have, he is afraid that he will lose his love, his child. However, when Taylor moves in with Lou Ann, she helps Lou Ann see the truth of her situation. Lou Ann found her friends in Virgie May, Edna Parsons, Turtle, and Taylor. When he started to think of Taylor as a friend, he slowly began to express his own opinion. He began to like his appearance and did not think about his fear of losing his child. Therefore, even though Angel sends Lou Ann a letter saying that he wants her to join him in Montana, Lou Ann knows that her place is with Taylor and her neighbors.

The ultimate paradigm of this theme is the Turtle character. He was a Cherokee Indian who had a difficult life at the age of three. Children of Turtle’s age try to make friends with others, but Turtle is abused. Then he gave to a stranger, and forced to cope with his life. Turtle has no place or friends, but her situation gradually changes as Taylor learns more about her role as a mother. At the beginning of the book, the turtles do nothing but stare at Taylor; At the end of the book, he is talking, although the words are mostly vegetables, and is on the way back from his earlier abuse as a child. Turtle also started to be friends with Esperanza. The two seem to be deeply connected and one feels that Turtle has found his friend and place. However, once Esperanza leaves Turtle at the adoption agency, Turtle realizes that Esperanza doesn’t belong there. When Taylor and Turtle run away, Turtle finds his friend in Taylor and, since Taylor accepts Turtle, he finally finds his place. Turtle acknowledges this when he “makes me laugh [Taylor] with his vegetable-soup, only now there are mixed people […]. I’m the main thing” (232) In Turtle’s communication and thinking, he has come to believe in humanity and now knows that Taylor is his own “Ma”.

When one finds their place and friends, they begin to grow and prosper. All characters in Bean Tree, once they found their friends, adapted to their environment, and continued to grow and help each other. Taylor has her place with Turtle and Lou Ann. Lou Ann, although still unsure of herself, finds her place with Taylor and her neighbors; Turtle finds and clings to Taylor. Their place is not always physical, such as a house, but has a sense; However, the friends each character will help and support them through difficult times. All people seek relationships, and all feel accepted when they know others in a group – people find their place when they find their friends.

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