The Bean Trees

by: Barbara Kingsolver

Alice Greer

One of the first characters we meet, Alice Greer sets the precedent for the series of strong, loving women that come after her in the novel. Kingsolver suggests that children become what they are told they will become; because Newt Hardbine is told he will fail, for example, he does fail. In contrast, because Alice constantly tells Taylor she is wonderful and smart and will succeed, Taylor is wonderful and smart and successful. Alice also represents the independence from men advocated by the novel. She lives happily, sometimes married, sometimes not, and never imagines she needs a man in order to raise Taylor.