have always thought you had a wonderful way with words,” he said.
“You don’t need to go fishing for big words in the dictionary. You
are poetic, mi’ija.” . . . “Well, thank you for the compliment,”
I said, “but that’s the biggest bunch of hogwash, what you said.
When did I ever say anything poetic?” “Washing hogs is poetic,”
These lines from Chapter Eight record
a conversation between Estevan and Taylor. To emphasize the idea
that immigrants should be treated with respect, Kingsolver pointedly
makes Estevan, an immigrant, the character with the best command
of the English language. He is better educated and more articulate
than any of his friends, all of whom use slang and bad grammar.
Kingsolver does not condemn those characters who use nonstandard
English, as this quotation indicates; rather, she suggests that
all forms of English can be considered poetic. Although Taylor wishes
she could use bigger words, like Estevan does, Estevan points out
that her slang and colloquial expressions are beautiful. Taylor’s
“hogwash,” Esperanza’s silence, and Turtle’s vegetable songs all
have their own bit of poetry.