Morality In The Bean Trees

1196 Words 5 Pages
In her Romance novel The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingsolver alternates a pair of first-person narratives to tell the story of Taylor Greer, a spunky girl who leaves her Kentucky home and travels west. During her journey away from home, Turtle, a young toddler from Cherokee Nation, is placed in her care. The novel focuses on the pair as they make a new home for themselves in Tucson, Arizona. Throughout her journey, Kingsolver explores many themes; the debate of siding with morality over legality while making a decision is one of the most prominent. During Taylor’s travels, she experiences two major cases which center around this controversy: the issue of illegal adoptions and the process of sheltering immigrants. Ultimately, the author uses these …show more content…
The author first introduces the strict, legal side of immigration during a meal with Taylor, her immigrant friends, and her neighbors. Estevan, an immigrant fleeing Guatemala, describes his current situation to the group. During the conversation, Estevan reveals he has found a job at a restaurant. Ms. Parsons (a neighbor) exclaims in disgust, “‘[Immigrants] ought to stay in their own dirt, not come here taking up jobs’” (Kingsolver 111). This exclamation, although sudden, is of great significance. Ms. Parsons serves as a manifestation of conservative views regarding immigration. She - and most conservatives - agree strongly with the laws dictating that immigrants do not belong in the United States. Additionally, Kingsolver intentionally creates an elderly character in Ms. Parson’s to emphasize that conservative beliefs are outdated. This dialogue is important because it prepares the reader for the author’s views on this issue. While Ms. Parsons symbolizes conservatism, Taylor stands as a representation of Kingsolver’s liberal opinions. While making the journey to Oklahoma, Taylor expresses her distaste regarding the term “illegal immigrants”. Passionately, she says, “That just pisses me off… a human being can be good or bad or right or wrong maybe. But how can you say a person is illegal?" (Kingsolver 206). Here, the author uses Taylor as a mouthpiece to voice her personal views regarding descriptions of immigrants. The author’s diction in the excerpt underscores this. “Good”, “bad”, “right”, and “wrong”, are all terms used to describe morals. Because Taylor represents Kingsolver’s opinions, her use of these words validates the idea that morals, rather than laws, should guide decisions. Finally, Kingsolver characterizes

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