The Bean Trees

Barbara Kingsolver

Chapters Eight–Nine

Summary Chapters Eight–Nine

At the same time that Taylor admits that she is attracted to Estevan, she begins to think about men less cynically. For the first time, she expresses a longing for a conventional, nuclear family. When she thinks of her Family of Dolls and sees herself on the couch with a man and child, the idea of a traditional family appeals to her. The fact that Taylor chooses to leave Estevan and go to her own bed demonstrates her strong character. It also demonstrates, perhaps, her new respect for Estevan’s family. Estevan already has a real version of the family Taylor imagines for herself, and she does not want to intrude on that. Also, Taylor recognizes Esperanza’s claim as wife and mother. When Taylor learns how Esperanza lost her child, she immediately responds and acts loyally to Esperanza partly because of their common bond of motherhood. We see the intensity of Taylor’s sympathy for Esperanza when she imagines Esperanza’s pain made into a burning pile, centered around a child who looks like Turtle. The power of this vision makes Taylor get up and leave Estevan.