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How is Barbara Kingsolver one-sided or stereotypical in the bean trees?

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tweeter99 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 10, 2010 at 1:08 PM via web

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How is Barbara Kingsolver one-sided or stereotypical in the bean trees?

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 11, 2010 at 8:16 AM (Answer #1)

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In The Bean Trees, Kingsolver does rely on stereotypical characterization a little more than is normal for her. Readers should notice names that are generally associated with "back woods" towns in the U.S. Also, with its many storylines, the novel addresses issues that are stereotypical but also relatable.

For example, Taylor represents the small-town girl who is determined to leave her tedious life behind and avoid the fate of so many other teenage moms.  Similarly, most readers can identify with the stereotypical Granny Logan--an older person who is set in her ways and who always knows best.  Granny criticizes anything that is unfamiliar to her or that strays from her traditions. Lou Ann's husband Angel seems to be the typical man struggling with committing to a child but who still wants the affection and adoration of his wife.

While Kingsolver does rely upon these traditional American archetypes, her novel is not weakened by her character choices; rather, she adeptly uses those choices to advance universal American themes.

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