The Bean Trees

by: Barbara Kingsolver

Estevan

Characters Estevan

Though a cast of strong women peoples The Bean Trees, the only male character of consequence is Estevan, whose presence grows more important as the novel progresses. Taylor’s affection for him suggests that he is a welcome addition to an otherwise exclusively female world. Estevan represents the opposite of the stereotypically chauvinistic American male. A good man, he counters the novel’s villainous and sexually predatory men, such as Turtle’s abuser, the prowler in the park, and the absentee Angel. We empathize with Estevan not only because of his kindness, but because he lacks a homeland. Like women and like the natural environment, he knows destruction and persecution. Via Estevan, Kingsolver dispels many myths about illegal immigrants. One myth holds that immigrants cannot speak English well, but Estevan speaks better English than any of the native English-speakers in the novel. His pristine English and impeccable grammar suggest his intelligence and industry.