Barbara Kingsolver’s The Bean Trees: A Novel is a true American novel and the attitude present in the text is truly a piece of the US in essence. Here in this novel the identifying factors that denote a profound American vibe are in its culture and attitude and the characters in the novel carries that essence all through. In other words, all the characters in the novel are the manifestation of American existence and it is seen particularly in the character of Taylor Green.
One of the fundamental identifying character marks is the protagonist, Taylor Green, herself. She is a person who has dreams in life and has the will to pursue it. She herself can be manifested as the identifying mark of the American culture. She is hard hitting by attitude but compassionate at the same time. She is sometimes whimsical at times but is intensely insightful. There is also a soft part attributed to her in the context of immigrants. This is revealed in a conversation between Taylor and Estevan in Chapter Eight. “You don’t need to go fishing for big words in the dictionary. You are poetic, mi’ija.”… “Well, thank you for the compliment,” I said, “but that’s the biggest bunch of hogwash, what you said. When did I ever say anything poetic?” “Washing hogs is poetic,” he said.” (Kingsolver, 118)
Here we find Taylor indicating “hogwash” to Estevan’s comment because he is an immigrant and his community is not in the best financial conditions. However, Taylor is comfortable with him and there is a predominant soft part for Estevan. This is the acceptance of the immigrants into the American mainstream and that is the true culture of America. This country is not a melting pot where every component fails to remain in its own flavor. It is a salad bowl, where every element remains in their original form and yet develops a specific taste for the appetizer. The author indicated this specific flavor of America in her novel.
Again, in chapter ten, we find a specific example of the American way of life that seeks hope and opportunity in the most unlikely places and ultimately makes use of the unlikely place. “Turtle shook her head. “Bean trees,” …They looked as much like beans as anything you’d ever care to eat. “Will you look at that,” I said. It was another miracle. The flower trees were turning into bean trees.” (Kingsolver, 143-144) This is miracle indeed and this is the miracle every individual, born out of American culture and attitude, believes in. The point this conversation and scenario was taking place was the time of conflict for Taylor as there was chance that Turtle, the little girl fostered by her, would be taken away. It was an emotional situation and it was the time she hoped for miracle and the author indicated that miracle was indeed taking place.
Thus, it is seen in the texts time and again that the specific American culture of that dignifies hopes and dreams are manifested throughout the novel with the help of the Taylor. By attitude, this novel shows the courage and independence of a woman to take up life on its own. By culture, it indicates that there are rooms for immigrants and there is hope that is visible for the true and ardent onlookers. This novel becomes a manifestation of America through its characters and everything the US stands for. The author specifically places the setting into a vibrant blue-collar setting and makes it a point that with proper hope and attitude anybody is able to achieve anything in this country. Taylor represents the true meaning of America, the novel juxtaposed the dual pillar of the success of America, its culture, and attitude of freedom and hope and “The Bean Trees” successfully carries these identities through the character of Taylor Green.
Kingsolver, Barbara. The Bean Trees. London: Virago Press. 1997.