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Stereotypes in Beans of Egypt, Maine by Carolyn Chute Essay

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A commentary on class division and the unaccepted social behavior of the lower class in our society, the Beans of Egypt, Maine by Carolyn
Chute.

A commentary on class division and the unaccepted social behavior of the lower class in our society, the Beans of Egypt, Maine by Carolyn
Chute successfully uses stereotypical characters to tell it's story.
Each character, or group of characters, the reader meets in the novel is reflective of a certain social class. The Beans, a typical backwoods family, and the focal point of the book, are the lower class representatives. Earlene is a lower-middle class girl who matures to a young woman. Throughout the story she views the Beans with curiosity and she despises them for no apparent
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Just the way Earlene describes Beal makes the reader picture a gnarly, dirty, smelly bum from off the streets. The vivid description of the Beans is easily imaginable, as the reader sees people like them everyday of their life. Earlene comments again on Beal: "He stops and looks at me. He don't say nuthin'. In school in the cafeteria he don't never talk. Just chews his lunch and looks at his hands. I think how if he keeps stayin' back, I go past him, and graduate, and Beal Bean will just go on forever in fifth grade. . . eatin' rat sandwiches and gettin' bigger, and BIGGER and BIGGER." This passage is an easily perceptible statement about the lower class. Earlene, a lower-middle class citizen, and not much better than the Beans herself, looks at
Beal (the lower class) with disgust and scorn. It represents the idea that the poor will just continue living in poverty forever, while the middle and upper class will pass them and be successful. The population of those in poverty will just keep getting bigger, and bigger and bigger, as Earlene says. Earlene could never imagine herself as a Bean, or as a lower class citizen, but ironically she ends up becoming one.

Early on in the novel, Earlene has an opinion of the Beans that was imposed on her by her father. Already, the reader sees that in society, people force their ideas onto
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