Free Study Guide for The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver-BookNotes|
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On the way home, at the market, Taylor runs into Edna Poppy who has a white cane and is without Mrs. Parsons. For the first time, Taylor realizes that Edna is blind. With this, Taylor also realizes that Mrs. Parsons isn’t as bad as Taylor first believed, for Mrs. Parsons must be the one who picks put Edna’s red clothes and guides her around - a true friend. The two old women manage so well together that Taylor and Lou Ann never noticed Edna’s blindness. Lou Ann is mortified that she ever asked Edna to keep and “eye” on Dwayne Ray.
The next day Taylor goes to visit Esperanza who is living upstairs at Mattie’s. Mattie’s upstairs is cluttered with pictures and other memorabilia of refugees that had passed through. Some things are fascinating, others disturbing. Esperanza’s room, however, is bare. As Taylor expresses sympathy and encouragement, Esperanza understands but does not respond verbally. Though one sided, the exchange is warm and gratifying.
The chapter ends with a sisterly conversation between Taylor and Lou Ann. Typically, Lou Ann is feeling negative and a little taken advantage of, this time the result of an unpleasant job interview. Taylor reassures her and explains that it’s okay to get “pissed off.”
This, the title chapter of the novel, underscores the theme of seemingly empty places being surprising resources. It is first apparent with Turtle’s discovery and pronouncement of The Bean Trees, then with the uncovering of the fact of Edna Poppy’s blindness, which sheds new light on the character of Mrs. Parsons, and finally at Jesus Is Lord Used Tires, which is not only a sanctuary, but also a shrine to refugees from oppressive regimes.
Taylor has learned that her problems are small compared to the reality of people running from Guatemalan death squadrons. The bittersweet connection she makes with Esperanza and what she sees in Mattie’s home foreshadow the deeper involvement Taylor will have with Esperanza and Estevan.
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Cassie, D. L.. "TheBestNotes on The Bean Trees".
. 09 May 2017