The Bean Trees | Study Guide

Barbara Kingsolver

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The Bean Trees | Chapter 11 : Dream Angels | Summary



Toward the end of May, Lou Ann gets a job at Red Hot Mama's salsa factory, and life in her and Taylor's house changes. When Lou Ann begins to work the swing shift, from 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., Taylor cooks for the kids and puts them to bed. When Lou Ann gets home, she and Taylor spend their evenings talking late into the night. Lou Ann confides her deep-seated fear that her son will die before the year 2000, since an angel told her that in a dream. In June, Angel sends a package to Lou Ann, inviting her and their son to live with him in Montana. Taylor begins to feel helpless to control a world that is rapidly shifting around her. Lou Ann is considering leaving, Mattie is frequently away driving immigrants, and Estevan and Esperanza are facing increasingly strict immigration enforcement that threatens them with deportation.


Lou Ann is finally beginning to exert some control over her own life, but she is held back by old demons. In her nightly conversations with Taylor, Lou Ann reveals that she has a dream that predicts her son Dwayne Ray will die before the year 2000. Her tendency to believe the worst and be overly fearful for her son's future has a lasting impact, even as she starts to provide for herself with a job she enjoys and from which she gains confidence. Moreover, Lou Ann is tempted by Angel's offer to join him in Montana. She does not particularly want to move to Montana, but she still harbors some desire for the happy life she had dreamed of when she married Angel.

Now that Taylor has established some security with a job at Mattie's, a good set of friends, and a shared family life with Lou Ann, she begins to fear losing it. Hearing about Angel's offer for Lou Ann to move to Montana at the same time that Estevan and Esperanza are considering leaving, Taylor starts to see her new world slipping away.

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