Comparatively, Barbara Kingsolver takes a similar approach in incorporating her life in her novel. Kingsolver was raised in “rural east central Kentucky” she writes herself as the character Taylor who grows up in Pittman County, Kentucky with no interest in settling down (Kingsolver Biography). Taylor wants to live a simple life without any responsibilities, once she was out of high school she stated, “I promised myself [...] that I would drive west until my car stopped running, and there I would stay” (Kingsolver 13). Although her life took an unexpected turn she ended up loving her life, similar to how Barbara Kingsolver did not expect to be a single mother in the eighties working random jobs until she found her way to becoming an independent writer. She parallels facing her fears of becoming an established writer with Taylor facing her fear of tires by working at “Jesus is Lord Used Tires” (Kingsolver 80). Moreover, Kingsolver traditionally sets her characters in places where there is social inequality for instance, “Before we knew it the whole world will be here jibbering and jabbering till we won’t know it’s America [...] they ought to stay put in their own dirt, not come here taking up jobs” (Kingsolver 111). She and her former husband used to help illegal immigrants with obtaining documents and safe houses (Kingsolver Biography). Furthermore, Barbara Kingsolver acquired a master’s degree in ecology and evolutionary biology, she believes “balancing individuality with the desire to live in a community” much like an ecosystem Kingsolver uses this strategy as a way of incorporating more of herself and her search for self-identity into her writing (Kingsolver Biography). The novel The Bean Trees is written in chronological order to allow for a better understanding of the life the young women in the story and depicts the struggle for self-identity
Khan 5 and actualization. Although the time zone is not explicitly stated by Kingsolver at any moment of the novel one can assume the novel is set in a time when single women with children are becoming more common and socially acceptable. As the novel continues an incident does occur when Turtle has to go to the doctor and, her true age is revealed, she was “closer to three” years old rather than two, which confirms that Turtle is behind her age group with her physical abilities (Kingsolver 129). Turtle “has been in [Taylor’s] care for five months” although it is known Turtle is much older than Dwayne Ray who was born in the course of the five months set in the novel which confirms the amount of time Taylor has spent with Turtle (Kingsolver 128). Explaining the progression of time through the discovery of Turtle’s true age helps the characters gain perspective of how much time has passed since entering a new stage of life. The example of Turtle is accurate because it is easy to determine where a developing child is supposed to be in each year of life. The chronological order of the novel offers an explanation of the struggle for self-identity and actualization because it interprets the struggle of two twenty-somethings trying to raise children under the most unusual circumstances.
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