The Bean Trees


  1. Audrey, Alice, Claudia, and Chiara - Lit Circle

    Yesterday, Thursday February 28th, we discussed a couple of the main ideas in chapter one. We discussed why Taylor left her home town, why she changed her name, the milestones in that chapter, and if Taylor would have realized the things she did if her mother was on the trip with her.
    Since Taylor didn’t grow up in the most educated or richest environment (girls getting pregnant at early ages, high school dropouts), she didn’t see many chances of prospering, changing and becoming someone different than she, and the rest of the people in her town. She felt like leaving was important for her to change her life and getting out of her town and starting over.
    As she begins her journey she changes her name. It symbolizes starting fresh, letting go of her history, having a name for herself that symbolizes her journey, a milestone for her of independence, and breaking from the norm. p.12 (line 15-16)
    The second milestone is Taylor realising the responsibility and the commitment she has for taking care of Turtle. If her mother had been on journey with her, Taylor wouldn’t have changed and realized that being a mother is a big commitment.
    In the end we came to the conclusion that Taylor grows and begins to learn responsibility throughout the first chapter. We decided that this was a key point of the chapter because it is the reason why she feels obligated to take care of an innocent, abused girl. This shows the first signs of adulthood in Taylor’s life as an independent woman.

  2. Alice 8e

    The reason why I chose to read “The Bean Trees” by Barbara Kingsolver is because when I read the description on the side cover, I was really interested into learning more about the main character: Taylor Greer and the hardships she had to go through during her time in Kentucky and her journey to Tucson, Arizona. I also wanted to read this book because I heard good reviews about it. Lastly, I usually like this genre of books.
    I think this book is about a young adult girl that grew up in a poor and disadvantageous area with only her mom to take care for her. From what I have read so far (5 pages), the main character, Taylor Greer, is explaining her educational life and how she made it through high school without getting side-tracked or getting pregnant (which was a common case in her school). But due to the description, I have a better idea about what the book is about. Taylor heads towards Tucson, Arizona in the search of a new life. I think that when she arrives to her destination, she makes new friends and gets a job, as well as having to take care of Turtle, a little girl that she acquired while she was traveling.

  3. Claudia 8e

    I chose The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver because I heard that Barbara Kingsolver was a great author and that I would appreciate her writing. Another reason, was the fact that it had a similar plot line to Secret Life of Bees that I really enjoyed in 7th grade. Also, some of my friends were also interested in this book and I knew that I would be able to have well thought out discussions with them. Lastly, I wanted a book with a slight challenge, but that I would be able to read quick enough. This book fit that perfectly because it isn’t lengthy but it seems to be a book that one has to focus a lot to understand.
    Based on what I discovered about the main character in the first five pages, I think that this book is going to be about the main character’s (Taylor Greer) experience about opening up. Within the five pages I read I learned that Taylor is a dedicated high school student who believes in a future other than marrying a tobacco farmer and becoming pregnant. I think that she is going to leave home and go and discover who she is and who she wants to become. Also judging by the description of the book, she is going to learn how to face life's many gifts and problems.

  4. Audrey 8e

    I chose the book The Bean Trees because I always feel that I can connect with books about a teenage girl’s adventure that could be a real life story. When Miss Campbell was reading and summarizing the book choices, I felt like some of the other book’s ideas and concepts were too abstract to me and seemed like I would have a hard finding the essential question in them. When Miss C read the teaser to us in class, the book sounded very unique and not like any book that I have read before. Another thing that made me want to read the book was the title and the cover of the book. I normally do judge a book by it’s cover and title (which is bad) and the name The Bean Trees sounds artistic and so does the cover. Also, when I read the first few pages I liked how the author used metaphors to describe feelings and stories.
    What I already know about the book is that there is a girl named Taylor, living with her mother in Kentucky. She comes from a small, agricultural town, which is uneducated and she is poor. What I predict and what I read in the teaser is that the rest of the book will be about is her adventure to a big city and seeing outside of what she was normally used to, or what she grew up learning and expanding her knowledge of the rest of the world. The story is also probably about her going from a teenager to an adult when she has to take care of the three year old Native American girl Turtle and surviving on her own without her mother.

  5. Chiara 8e

    I chose the book The Bean Trees because I’m starting to read a lot of books were the main character is a girl and sometimes I can relate to what happened to the girls and or what they do. At first I was hesitating between The Bean Trees and F451 because I like books with a hook or constant action so I never want to put the book down. I want to work in the medical field as an Emergency Response team that works with firefighters when I grow up. I also like the plot of the book The Bean Trees where Taylor Greer has all these goals in life like not to get pregnant and making something out of herself, wanting to be successful. I also liked the way the book was written when I read the first page, the book seemed very pleasant to look at and the the title sounds nice too.
    So far I’ve only read the first 5 pages of the book but with the summary that I read I think I know what’s going to happen, I think she is going to get the medical job that the teacher is offering her at the hospital where the teachers wife works at. I also think she is going to enjoy it a lot and is going to try to become certified in that field. Since in Summary of the book it stated that she is going to “adopt” a child I think that when she leaves and travels she may be inspired to help kids with that have been abandoned like Turtle the little kid she takes in and cares for just like if it was hers

  6. Alice, Claudia, and Audrey - Lit Circle

    During our Lit Circle discussion on March 1st we discussed two main questions. The first one was: What is the relationship between Lou Ann and Taylor’s story? We discussed this question for a while and in the end we came to the conclusion that the relationship between the two women was more of a difference than a similarity. Lou Ann feels like she has her life set out for her already and doesn’t try to change it whereas Taylor wants to create a new life for herself and start fresh.
    Our second question was: Why do you think the second chapter switches to Lou Ann’s story? Again, we discussed and then we decided on the answer. We believe that Taylor will meet Lou Ann during her journey to Arizona.
    In the end we were able to conclude that Taylor and Lou Ann’s stories will collide and the two points of views will become one.

  7. Alice, Claudia, and Audrey - Lit Circle

    During our Lit Circle discussion on March 5th we discussed about the main points of the chapter: Taylor and Lou Ann meeting, looking for roommates and Turtles life.
    When Taylor and Lou Ann met, we were surprised because we didn’t think that they would meet by becoming roommates this early in the book. We thought there would a conflict leading to their meeting.
    Taylor went looking for a roommate and came across two house choices. The people that lived in the first house made Taylor extremely uncomfortable. They lived a different lifestyle than her, the fact that they were asking some weird questions that she wasn’t used to, and they were asking a lot from her made her feel not appreciated. They were also discriminating against Turtle and they were criticizing her about what she ate and judging her based on her actions and her speechlessness. “I guess Turtle would be exempt. But we would have to make adjustments for that in the kitchen quota...” p. 47, said by a resident of the first house.
    Based on the opinion of the hippies on Turtle we discussed whether we thought Turtle was retarded or not. We came to the conclusion that she was most probably autistic and that she had a hard time expressing her thoughts and feelings.
    In the end we came to the conclusion that the cultural shock of Taylor meeting the hippies led to the surprise of Taylor and Lou Ann’s meet. We also predicted future conflicts and causes concerning Turtle’s life.

    1. Jobs:
      Alice > Check up/blogger
      Claudia > Literary Luminary and Elemental
      Audrey > Discussion Leader

  8. Alice, Claudia, and Audrey - Lit Circle

    During our Lit Circle discussion on March 6th we discussed golden details and metaphors, trying to understand what the meaning of them was. We also answered questions concerning the main points of the chapter. Our first question was “What do you think Taylor’s metaphor about men means?” We came to an agreement of the answer which was that we thought that it meant that everyone has different personalities, some bad and some good. Some men look for girls in just specific ways for example beauty. They don’t include all the parts of a person’s personality, whether they are good or bad.
    Another of our three questions was “Who do you think the spanish speaking people living in Mattie’s house are?” We thought that they were Mexican illegal immigrants and that Mattie was trying to protect them by helping them stay healthy and feeding them.
    Our last question was “Why was Taylor upset at Lou Ann at the end of the chapter?” We thought that Taylor was upset at Lou Ann because she left her home to be free and that the fact that Lou Ann is preparing dinner and preparing all the meals, she feels as if she is coming home and being part of an old married couple where she complains about work and Lou Ann is doing all the meals.
    In the end we concluded that Taylor was learning a bit more about her surroundings and the life around her but also she was able to see what she was avoiding by moving to Tucson, Arizona.

  9. Alice, Claudia, and Audrey - Lit Circle

    During our Lit Circle discussion on March 12th we discussed chapters 7 and 8. Due to the fact that chapter 7 was focused a lot on the immigrants, we wondered who Estevan and Esperanza really were. We believed that they were illegal immigrants and that they were staying at Mattie’s house before starting a whole new life in Tucson, Arizona.
    Another question we discussed was why Esperanza was staring at Turtle in a shocked way during their walk to the picnic area. We thought that she recognized her from somewhere. There was a possibility that Turtle would Esperanza’s daughter.
    During the discussion on Chapter 8, we mostly discussed one question which was why Taylor was having a bad reaction to the news of her mom getting married. We came to the conclusion that she feels that she wasn’t a big part of her mother’s life. So since right when she leaves Kentucky her mom gets married, we believe she feels like she is being replaced.
    In the end we concluded that immigrants was a big part of Taylor’s surroundings and that she might be missing her home in Kentucky more than she thought she would.

  10. Hi
    This story sounds interesting! :{
    I have the curiosity to read it!
    I wonder what well happen to Taylor when she goes to the city!

  11. Hey!! I would like to read the book. It sounds interesting. I like how the girl goes through a lot of different adventures.

  12. Lit Circle discussion
    May 27
    Alixe, Ailish, Isadora, Medea

    We started our discussion with Medea summarizing chapters 1-9. We discussed why the chapters changed points of view and we concluded that it was to give background information on characters. We clarified why turtle was called turtle. Ailish found that Turtle is a symbol of responsibility and she is teaching Taylor instincts.
    Isadora found background information and a couple words that confused her.
    We are leaving our discussion today with a question: Are there actually high levels of beating in the cherokee reservations?

    -Notes taken by Alixe

  13. Lit Circle discussion - Chapters 10-13
    June 1st
    Alixe, Ailish, Isadora, Medea

    We started with Ailish giving a summary of these chapters. We talked about Edna Poppy being blind. We talked about Lou Anne's dream about her son and her decision if she should go with Angel to Montana. We all agreed that it would not be the best idea to go with him. We discussed how Edna Poppy saved Turtle when she got attacked. We discussed why the man that wanted Turtle. We discussed who the man was. We talked about how Taylor tries to get legal right over Turtle, and that we would be scared to transport illegal immigrants.
    We then talked about the symbols that Alixe found. The first one was that Turtle first word was bean. A bean grows just like Turtle will. The bean shows more about Turtles Native American background and how she still belongs to that part of her life. We discussed why Lou Ann wanted to stay at the salsa factory even though it was not a good workspace.
    Medea cleared many confusing words in these chapters and provided images for some specific words.

    -Notes taken by Isadora

  14. Lit Circle discussion - Chapters 14-17
    June 3rd
    Alixe, Ailish, Isadora, Medea

    We started our discussion with Alixe summarizing chapter 14-17. We discussed how we would react if we were stopped by immigrations patrols. We put ourselves in Turtle’s position and talked about if we would feel comfortable going back to her hometown. Alixe had understood that we Estevan and Esperanza had adopted Turtle so we explained to Alixe that Estevan and Esperanza had just pretended to be Turtle’s parents so that Taylor could adopt Turtle . Next Isadora told us her literary gems. Isadora explained a multiple quotes from the book and explained what literary device they use. We discussed what we thought about the book and agreed that the ending felt a little rushed. We also decided that the the beginning was more interesting than the middle and ending. Ailish than explained hard words throughout chapter 14-17. Ailish also showed us an image of rhizobia. Isadora was able relate to The Bean Trees because she has traveled to Arizona and Kentucky.

    -Notes taken by Medea