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    Barbera Kingsolver’s Essay

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    In her home town, we could say that Newt Hardbine was seen as her double, people used to think they were brother and sister: If you were to look at the two of us , myself and Newt side by side in the sixth grade, you could have pegged us for brother and sister. 6 Their lives were so similar as well and seemed to move in a parallel direction until Newt Hardbine get killed which enables Taylor to break free. The motif of rebirth is also seen when Taylor’s mother, Alice, is finally separated from her only daughter and motherhood is passed on at the same moment when an unplanned woman appears and leaves her a baby.

    “Take this baby, she said. “7 This is quite ironic since she has been avoiding pregnancy her whole life. Turtle starts off being so still Taylor thought she was dead, “After a while I began to wonder if it was dead. Maybe the woman had a dead child, murdered or some such thing, and had put it in my car, and I was riding down the road beside it, talking to it. “8 This foreshadows that something terrible has happened to Turtle, which we later on learn that she has been sexually abused. “When I pulled off the pants and the diapers there were more bruises. Bruises and worse. The Indian child was a girl.

    A girl, poor thing. The fact had already burdened her short life with a kind of misery I could not imagine. 9 Kingsolver wants us to see Turtle as a representative of all women and how life is already so difficult because of their gender. This has great meaning to why Turtle seems like an unusual child, she has been robbed of a part of herself that she will never get back. However as the novel progresses; Turtle begins to trust Taylor and starts to feel comfortable in the presence of the little family she is in. This is shown when Turtle makes her first sound: She did a somersault. I think that sound was a laugh.

    It must have been true. She was hanging on to Lou Ann’s boob tube for dear life, and smiling. We both stared at her. Then we stared at the tailgate of the truck in front of us, stopped dead in the road. What in the tarnation? Lou Ann asked. I said I didn’t know. Then I said, look. In the road up ahead there was a quail, the type that has one big feather spronging out the front of its head like forties-model ladies’ hat. We could make out that she was dithering back and forth in the road, and we gradually could see that there were a couple dozen babies running around her every which way.

    10 The quail and her babies evoke this laugh which comes out of Turtle, and this view almost made Taylor cry, due to the fact that this has the sentimental value of family and trust. Throughout the novel we are shown how Turtle feels through birds, since she still does not speak very much. Later on in the novel we are shown how badly Turtle was abused when the doctor comes back with the x-rays: He put up more x-rays in the window, saying things like “spiral fibular fracture here” and “excellent healing” and “some contraindications for psychomotor development. ” I couldn’t really listen.

    I looked through the bones to the garden on the other side. 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. 11 The bird symbolizes the pain in which Turtle has gone through, she had built a home with her family and even after the way they treated her, she would not hesitate to come back home. It gives the reader an idea of how strong Turtle is and how she as well as the rest of human kind can thrive through tough times.

    While Turtle grows to trust her new family, she begins to speak, her first word being “bean”12 which is very symbolic to the title of the novel. Bean refers very much to the women in the novel who start off not so well but then grow past it and become stronger, just like a bean tree can grow in non- fertile soil, meaning it has to strive to grow. This could also be a symbol of the characters growing in unity with each other, since a bean tree has a symbiotic relationship with zhizobia which help transport nutrients for the tree.

    Another character, Ismene is mentioned in the novel but never physically there. We are foreshown that something horrible has happened to Ismene when Esperanza first sees Turtle: Esperanza was just stepping out of the cab, and when she saw the kids she fell back against the seat, just as if she’d been hit with twenty-eight pounds of air. 13 This demonstrates that Turtle obviously has a great effect on Esperanza which we later on learn is due to the fact that her child was taken away.

    Ismene in other words represents Turtle’s dark twin, since we learn that they are almost identical. “… she looked {Turtle} very much like a child we knew in Guatemala. “14 She is a symbol of what could have happened to Turtle if Taylor had not rescued her, in other words she is an embodiment of all abandoned children in the world. When she is mentioned by her parents we can see the pain in which they have to have let her go due to political corruption: A god damn hook. He was looking away from me again.

    Sometimes, after a while, usually…. These children are adopted. 15Although Turtle was abandoned, she continues to strive throughout the novel; however there is a crescendo foreshown when Taylor is out of the house and she witnesses a snake in the dessert: I didn’t know they could get up in trees, I said. Sure, they’ll {rattle snakes} climb. After birds’ eggs. 16 This symbolizes that as soon as Turtle has managed to grown strong like a tree, she is still going to be attacked by an invader; hence the bird’s eggs symbolizing Turtle.

    This soon after is proven when Turtle gets attacked in the park by a pedophile, she is back into the same state she was in the beginning of the novel. “Open the screen door, I commanded Virgie. It’s locked, you have to flip that little latch. Now hold it open. Slowly I moved in on the terrified bird, which clinging sideways to the screen. You could see its little heart beating through the feathers. I had heard of birds having heart attacks from fright. Easy does it, I said. Easy, we’re not going to hurt you, we just want to set you free.

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