The Bean Trees | Study Guide

Barbara Kingsolver

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The Bean Trees | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • Five and a half years after high school graduation

    Marietta "Missy" Greer buys a beat-up car and takes off from her hometown.

    Chapter 1
  • On Halloween

    Angel Ruiz picks up and leaves his seven-months pregnant wife, Lou Ann.

    Chapter 2
  • January 2

    Taylor and Turtle decide to stay in Arizona and their car breaks down in Tucson.

    Chapter 3
  • Later in January

    Lou Ann's mother and grandmother visit, while Angel pretends to still be a part of the family.

    Chapter 4
  • Soon after

    Taylor agrees to rent Lou Ann's spare room, which she found in a for rent ad in the newspaper.

    Chapter 5
  • February

    Taylor takes a job at Mattie's tire shop and forms strong friendships with Mattie and Lou Ann.

    Chapter 6
  • March

    Taylor meets Estevan, Esperanza, Virgie Mae Parsons, and Edna Poppy.

    Chapter 7
  • April

    Taylor takes Turtle to Dr. Pelinowsky and learns the truth about the abuse Turtle suffered in the past.

    Chapter 8
  • One weekend soon after

    Taylor comforts Estevan while Mattie takes Esperanza to the hospital after she tries to commit suicide.

    Chapter 9
  • The following Monday

    Taylor visits Esperanza at Mattie's house.

    Chapter 10
  • The third week of May

    Lou Ann begins to take control of her life by taking a job at Red Hot Mama's salsa factory while Mattie worries that Estevan and Esperanza will be deported.

    Chapter 11
  • July 12

    A stranger attacks Turtle at the park, but Edna fights him off.

    Chapter 12
  • A few weeks later

    Taylor decides to drive Estevan and Esperanza to Oklahoma and tries to secure guardianship rights to Turtle while there.

    Chapter 13
  • Three days later

    Taylor discovers that the diner where she picked up Turtle has been transformed, and no one who can tell her about Turtle's family.

    Chapter 14
  • Hours after

    Taylor drives Turtle, Estevan, and Esperanza to Lake Oologah, and they spend a pleasant day.

    Chapter 15
  • The next day

    Estevan and Esperanza pose as Turtle's Cherokee parents and sign custody of the girl over to Taylor.

    Chapter 16
  • The following day

    Taylor receives the official adoption papers and begins the return trip home with Turtle.

    Chapter 17

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Chapter 1 The novel opens with a story told by the narrator, Marietta Greer, who will later take on the name of Taylor Marietta Gr... Read More
Chapter 2 Lou Ann Ruiz, a Kentucky girl who married Angel Ruiz and moved with him to Tucson, is pregnant with their first child. L... Read More
Chapter 3 Taylor stays on at the Broken Arrow Motor Lodge with Mrs. Hoge and her daughter Irene for a few months, cleaning rooms a... Read More
Chapter 4 Lou Ann's mother, Ivy Logan, and her grandmother, Granny Logan, come to visit shortly after Dwayne Ray is born. Lou Ann ... Read More
Chapter 5 Taylor had been working at the Burger Derby but quit her job after a fight with her boss. She spends her mornings at a c... Read More
Chapter 6 Taylor, who now lives with Lou Ann, takes a job at Mattie's Jesus Is Lord Used Tires, despite her long-held fear of tire... Read More
Chapter 7 After an unseasonably warm winter, March brings wildflower blooms, and Mattie takes Taylor, Lou Ann, and the children on... Read More
Chapter 8 Taylor shares with Lou Ann the surprising news that her mother is engaged to be married. Lou Ann accuses Taylor of talki... Read More
Chapter 9 One weekend, Esperanza tries to commit suicide by taking a bottle of baby aspirin, but Mattie finds her and takes her to... Read More
Chapter 10 Mattie calls to tell Taylor that Esperanza will be fine, and Taylor sends Estevan home. Lou Ann returns from her weekend... Read More
Chapter 11 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. W... Read More
Chapter 12 On July 12, Mattie takes Taylor, Esperanza, and Estevan out into the desert. She says it is New Year's Day, which the Na... Read More
Chapter 13 Turtle is recovering from the attack in the park and, after a few weeks, has resumed speaking as predicted by Lou Ann an... Read More
Chapter 14 As Taylor drives Turtle, Estevan, and Esperanza to Oklahoma, they are stopped by Immigration Enforcement and questioned ... Read More
Chapter 15 Taylor takes Turtle, Estevan, and Esperanza on a short vacation to go see Lake Oologah and Grand Lake o' the Cherokees. ... Read More
Chapter 16 In Oklahoma City, Taylor and Turtle are with Estevan and Esperanza in the office of Mr. Jonas Wilford Armistead, a notar... Read More
Chapter 17 Taylor drives Estevan and Esperanza to the drop-off point with the new sanctuary, at a white church in Oklahoma City. Sh... Read More
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