1. Questions of legality surface many times in this novel. How does the novel regard the law? If the law cannot act as an authority, what dictates right and wrong in its place?
2. Compare the experiences of Esperanza and Estevan, who are of the Mayan people, to the experiences of Turtle, and the Cherokee people in general.
3. Think of the bird imagery in this novel. What do the birds symbolize? How are different kinds of birds used to represent different ideas?
4. The Bean Trees is a novel about refugees. Identify the characters in the novel who have left or been driven from their homelands. What differentiates their experiences, and what commonalities bind them together?
5. What is the significance of the many different forms of violence referred to in this novel?