By morning things are better. Esperanza is going to be all right. Lou Ann is home from the family reunion. Taylor and Lou Ann are at Roosevelt Park (Dog Doo Park) marveling that there are so many birds in a place with so few trees. The wisteria flowers that had miraculously bloomed a few weeks ago are attracting groups of bees to their sweet perfume. Lou Ann is unloading a weekend worth of gossip from the Ruiz family reunion saying that Angel's family considers Lou Ann as one of their relatives and agrees that Angel isn't so nice. As they talk, Taylor sees that Turtle is staring at the wisteria flowers. Turtle says, Beans. Taylor corrects her and says, Bees. Turtle shakes her head no and says emphatically, Bean trees. Indeed there are long green pods that look just like beans hanging from the branches. It was another miracle. The flower trees were turning into bean trees.

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.

Cite this page:

Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on A Long Way Gone".