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The Bean Trees | Study Guide

Barbara Kingsolver

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The Bean Trees | Chapter 10 : The Bean Trees | Summary



Mattie calls to tell Taylor that Esperanza will be fine, and Taylor sends Estevan home. Lou Ann returns from her weekend at Angel's family reunion, telling Taylor about how many people are moving out to San Diego. Turtle names the wisteria trees in the park "bean trees" because they produce long, bean-like seed pods. On the way home, Taylor runs into Edna Poppy at the market and realizes that Edna is blind.

On Monday, Taylor visits Esperanza at Mattie's house and gets her first glimpse of the upstairs rooms where Mattie provides sanctuary for immigrants. She tries to bring Esperanza some hope and tells her that she knows about Ismene, but Esperanza does not speak and hardly responds to her presence.


Taylor and Lou Ann are settling in to their life together with the two kids. Taylor accepts this life, even though she clearly wishes that it were possible to have a relationship with Estevan. After Esperanza is found to be fine, Taylor sends Estevan home "before I could start falling in love with him again over the breakfast dishes." She and Lou Ann fill in the empty places Angel left, and they support one another with the children, doing the best they can in the situation they have. Things are changing, just as Turtle points out that the wisteria tree's flowers are turning into beans. Something simple and pretty is transforming into something functional, in much the same way that Lou Ann and Taylor have abandoned romantic love in favor of something more useful to them at this time: true friendship.

When Taylor goes to see Esperanza, she does so with the best of intentions, but her help is not well received. For Taylor, who is in love with Estevan, she cannot understand how a woman lucky enough to be his wife would be depressed enough to commit suicide, even if her daughter had been taken from her. Taylor misunderstands how depression works, a fact that Taylor later acknowledges in Chapter 13 when she suffers from depression after Turtle is attacked in the park. In Chapter 10, however, Taylor still believes she can overcome anything with sheer force of will.

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