The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

746 Words3 Pages
Birds are a personal symbol for Turtle’s development. Throughout the novel, birds are tied to Turtle and major events in her life. Turtle makes her first sound when the car stops suddenly to avoid a family of quail. “I slammed on the brakes and we all pitched forward… ‘I think that sound was a laugh’...In the road up ahead there was a quail, the type that has one big feather spronging out the front of its head like a forties-model ladies' hat. We could just make out that she was dithering back and forth in the road, and then we gradually could see that there were a couple dozen babies running around her every which way” (Kingsolver 106-107). Turtle and Taylor have become comfortable as a family and Turtle has recovered from her previous trauma to the point that she makes audible noises and expresses herself. Just as the family of Taylor and Turtle has brought joy to the lives of Lou Ann, Mattie, Esperanza and Estevan, this disruptive family of birds bring joy and laughter to Taylor and Turtle. When Taylor takes Turtle to the doctor and learns the extent of Turtle’s abuse, she sees a bird that has made its nest inside a cactus. “I looked through the bones to the garden on the other side. There was a cactus with bushy arms and a coat of yellow spines as thick as fur. A bird had built her nest in it. In and out she flew among the horrible spiny branches, never once hesitating. You just couldn't imagine how she'd made a home in there” (Kingsolver 137-138). Just as the bird has
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