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Alexander 1Kat Alexander Mr. Gracyk American Literature A Block 21 September 2017 1,855 Words The Importance of a NameOver the summer, St. Francis High School juniors were required to read Barbara Kingsolver’s The Bean Trees.The novel is told through the eyes of the protagonist Marietta Greer also known as Missy. The novel begins in the 1970’s showing important aspects of Missy’sadolescence in Pittman County, Kentucky where she wishes to avoid the fate of pregnancy and leaves her hometown. Missy heads west and along the way, she decides to change her name and is now known as Taylor. When Taylor was passing through Cherokee Nation, she stops at a bar where a stranger gives her an Indian toddler whom Taylor later names Turtle. As Taylor and Turtle head west, Taylor’s car tires go flat forcing them to stop at a tire shop called Jesus Is Lord Used Tires in Tucson, Arizona. A woman named Mattie owns this shop, Taylor soon becomes friends with her and not long after accepts a job offer to work for her. Taylor finds a place to live and a new friend as well when she moves in with Lou Ann Ruiz and her son Dwayne Ray. Tayloralso befriends Estevan and Esperanza -- Guatemalan refugees on the run from dictatorial state control and police tyranny. During a doctor's appointment, Taylors suspicions that Turtle was physically abused in the past are confirmed and she learns that Turtle is still trying to recover from the physical and mental trauma. Eventually, the safe and loving environment that Taylor provides for Turtle slowly helps her to open up and trust again by beginning to speak. Unfortunately, this progress does not last for long, while Turtle is being babysat by their blind
Alexander 2neighbor Edna Poppy, Turtle is attacked. The attack draws the attention of Child Protective Services and they learn that Taylor has no legal custody of Turtle. Taylor receives advice from a social worker who tells Taylor in order to gain custody she will need to find Turtle’s family. Taylor’s decision to go back to Oklahoma benefits Estevan and Esperanza as well because they had been living Mattie. But with immigration tensions rising, the couple needs to move to a new safe house. Taylor, Turtle, Estevan and Esperanza head to Oklahoma. With no luck in finding Turtle’s family and the fear of losing Turtle, Esperanza and Estevan pretend to be Turtle’s parentsand sign over custody to Taylor, making her officially the legal guardian. Throughout the novel, many characters’ names stand out and seem to have significant meaning but two characters stand out more than others. The two characters whose names have the most significant meaning are