Sneaking through life, setting and reaching low goals, and hoping for nothing but the same in the future, is not a life that many would want to live. Taylor Greer, the main character of the book, Bean trees, by Barbara Kingsolver, lives in a town whose inhabitants have the aforementioned lifestyle. He wants to break free and travel, but leaving his mother behind is one of the hardest things he’s ever done. Barbara Kingsolver, however, suggests a theme of friendship rather than self-independence as Taylor travels through life. The message: don’t look for a place, then look for friends; but find friends, and then make that your place – it is clearly indicated by key points of evidence in the book. Reading the book, one can see that this message is only hinted at at the beginning, but in the last chapter it is obvious. The characters of Taylor, Lou Ann, and Turtle are the best representations of this theme in the book.
Taylor wishes to escape from a place where she has been forced to find friends during her childhood. He travels west to find somewhere other than his hometown where he can live. Although he originally settled in a city due to a flat tire, he quickly found friends and decided to make that his new home. His physical place is with his friends in Arizona, but as the story progresses, you can see that his place in the big picture is with Turtle. She tells Estevan, “[…] I spent the first half of my life avoiding motherhood and ties, and now I consider them a blessing. “(137) It is at this point that Kingsolver suggests that Taylor stops loving Turtle in order to fully embrace her motherhood duties. Taylor finds that Lou Ann and Turtle are her friends, she finds a place very similar to where her mother was, always accepting what she does and always encouraging her.
The second example, Lou Ann Ruiz, a single mother and recently separated from her husband, struggles to stay in the routine of daily life. You have low self-esteem and consider that everyone’s opinions are better than your own. She clings to the idea that her place is with Angel, even though he has retracted his love for her and abandoned her; she clings to the idea that since she still loves Angel, he must be her place. Holding on to a love that she cannot have, she is deathly afraid of losing her other love, her baby. However, when Taylor moves in with Lou Ann, she helps Lou Ann see the reality of her situation. Lou Ann finds her friends in Virgie May, Edna Parsons, Turtle and Taylor. Once she begins to regard Taylor as a friend, she slowly begins to express her own opinion. You start to like the way you look and stop obsessing over your fears of losing your baby. It is then, although Angel sends Lou Ann a letter saying that he would like her to meet him in Montana, Lou Ann realizes that her place is with Taylor and her neighbors.
The last paradigm of this theme is the character Turtle. She is a Cherokee Indian who has already had a difficult life at the age of three. Normal children Turtle’s age try to befriend each other, but Turtle has been abused. She is then handed over to a stranger and forced to face her life. Turtle had no place or friends, but her situation slowly changes as Taylor becomes more aware of her responsibilities as a mother. At the beginning of the book, Turtle just looks at Taylor; at the end of the book, she is speaking, although the words consist mostly of vegetables, and is on her way to recover from her earlier abuse as a child. Tortuga also begins to befriend Esperanza. The two seem to connect deeply and one thinks Turtle has found her friend and her place. However, once Esperanza lets Turtle go at the adoption agency, Turtle realizes that Esperanza is not her place. As Taylor and Turtle drift away, Turtle finds her friend in Taylor, and since Taylor adopts Turtle, she finally finds her place. Turtle recognizes this when he “entertained me [Taylor] with his vegetable soup song, except now there were people mixed up […]. I was the main ingredient. “(232) In Turtle’s own way of communicating and thinking, he has come to trust people and now knows that Taylor is his only” Ma. “
When you find your place and your friends, you begin to grow and prosper. All the characters of Bean treesOnce they find their friends, they quickly adapt to their place and continue to grow and help each other. Taylor has her place with Turtle and Lou Ann. Lou Ann, though still a bit unsure of herself, finds her place with Taylor and her neighbors; Turtle finds and clings to Taylor. Your place is not always physical, like a home, but a sense of belonging; Whatever happens, the friends each character makes will help and support them through difficult times. All humans seek social interaction and all feel accepted once they meet others in a certain group; humans find their place when they find their friends.