Comparing the Messages of Animal Dreams and The Bean Trees Essay

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Political and Social Messages of Animal Dreams and The Bean Trees

Perhaps The Poisonwood Bible is Barbara Kingsolver's best work. It was while reading this book (which centers around The Congo and what the western world has done to this country) that I began to make the connection that all of Kingsolver's books contain a political and social message. She uses her stance as an author to illuminate her readers to situations and issues that she feels are important. Kingsolver's voice can be heard in Animal Dreams when the main character, Codi talks about what happened to her sister, Hallie in Nicaragua, and how unaware Americans were to what was happening in that country. "It made the news in Tucson, at least for a day. You
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I wanted to see how much Kingsolver has twisted real life for her stories' sakes. While the stories and characters are all spun from Kingsolver's imagination, the political issues she raises are realistic enough to make one wonder if she hasn't taken them straight from news headlines. Because of this, I would like to look into the reality of these issues outside of Kingsolver's novels and compare them to how she presents them fictionally.

The second topic I chose to pursue was whether Barbara Kingsolver approaches her writing with an agenda and if so, if that is a good or bad thing. Critics and reviewers alike have characterized Barbara Kingsolver as a "political writer" and this label is not one that she denies, in fact it seems a badge that she wears rather proudly. In an interview with Donna Perry for her book, Backtalk; Women Writer's Speak Out, Kingsolver gives her reasons why most writers avoid this label:

It surprises me constantly that almost everybody else in the United States of

America who writes books hates to be called a political writer. As if that demeans the United States art and politics got this divorce in the fifties and there's

never been a reconciliation. Artists working in the United States remain, by and

large afraid of being labeled political, even though they're no longer afraid that

they'll lose their jobs or lose their readership. They're afraid that they'll lose there


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