One of the main themes in Barbara Kingsolver’s The Bean Trees is freedom. Kingsolver tells the story of Taylor Greer, born Marietta Greer, who has left her hometown in search of freedom from the typical life she sees all around her. Girls in her hometown didn’t generally have adventures; they got pregnant and dropped out of high school, tied to a life of poverty and motherhood. Taylor is determined not to forge the same path. She graduates high school, works and saves money, and then leaves her old life behind.
Taylor meets the couple Estevan and Esperanza, undocumented immigrants from Guatemala who are frightened and traumatized by their experiences back home. They fled their home country to protect themselves and other members of an undocumented teachers’ union. Leaving Guatemala meant leaving their daughter behind, but staying there would have put the lives and freedom of their group members at risk.
Referring to Estevan's conversation with Taylor, Kingsolver writes,
He told me that...
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