The Bean Trees

The Bean Trees

I think one of the major themes in this book is decision-making and overcoming obstacles. The book begins by the narrator, Missy, telling us about her fear of changing tires. However, we see Missy gritting her teeth to put air in her car tire. Missy had made the right decisions up till now I her life. The most important was to avoid pregnancy, stay out of trouble, and continue her education in school. Now she makes a major decision to leave Pittman County, change her name (Taylor Greer), and start a new life. In the beginning, this decision seems to be a good one, but then I began to re-question Missy’s decision when she begins to run into car trouble, strangers, and money shortages. She even takes in a baby Indian girl whose mother wasn’t able to support her. Although Taylor did not physically become pregnant, in a sense, she did because she now is a mother and has a baby to take care of. Therefore, the only way to make Taylor’s decision to leave Pittman a right decision is to succeed in her journey. Lou Ann Ruiz lives in Tucson, Arizona, where Taylor ends up. She seems to be a nice, young girl, but unlike Taylor, she has made many wrong decisions in her life. She chose to marry early and against the will of her mother, and got pregnant. Now Lou Ann is separated and emotionally and economically torn. Lou Ann is a contrasting character to Taylor because the decisions she makes sinks her deeper into trouble. For example, when her mother and grandmother arrive, she does not tell them about the problems is a facing. Even when they offer her to come live with them, Lou Ann refuses. The part that struck me was when Taylor tells Estefan, “Do you know, I spent the first half of my life avoiding motherhood and tires, and now I’m counting them as blessings?” Taylor left Pittman County to get away from the place where all the girls had babies by the time they were 18, and where it took 20 years before technology rea…


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