Taylor is also a victim of the circumstances of her childhood. She is raised by a single mother in Pittman, Kentucky and feels like an outsider in her own community. The poor children must pick walnuts in order to earn money for school clothes, and their fingers are stained with black, readily identifying them as a "have-not" of society. Taylor is also a victim of poverty, but she feels she's different from the other poor children because she wants more than what her rural community can offer her. She's also determined not to become one of the statistics of a pregnant teenager, and this is why she questions whether she's prepared to raise Turtle. Taylor leaves Kentucky because she realizes how limited her opportunities are there.
Turtle also is a victim of the prejudices of society toward single mothers, representing what all single mothers have to deal with in trying to survive. They must make a living while finding a decent babysitter and making a home for themselves and their children. The women in the book must find the strength within themselves and among each other to survive as single mothers in society.