The Bean Trees: Character Profiles
Cynthia is a social worker who is assigned to Turtle's case. She has to report that Taylor has no legal right to Turtle but tries to help the two stay together.
Esperanza is Estevan's wife. Their daughter, Ismene, was stolen from them in Guatemala. She mourns the loss of her child and attaches to Turtle. By pretending Turtle is her daughter to help Taylor adopt the child, Esperanza has a chance to say the goodbye she was never allowed.
Estevan is a Guatemalan refugee who Mattie helps. He and Taylor become close and she falls in love with him. Because he is married, they never discuss her feelings. In Guatemala, he was an English teacher, but in the United States, he washes dishes in a Chinese restaurant.
Alice Greer is Taylor's mother. She loves Taylor and supports her, giving her the strength to go off on her own and be independent.
Born in rural Pittman County, Kentucky, Taylor Greer strikes out to make a life of her own. She is gutsy and fears little, but when she encounters the cruelty of the wider world, she is shocked. Only her courage and her desire to help those she loves keep her strong despite all the sadness she sees. When she arrives in Arizona, she makes many new friends. She moves in with Lou Ann, works with Mattie, and raises Turtle. She discovers that she is more than gutsy; she is strong enough for others to rely upon her.
April Turtle Greer
Orphaned by the death of her mother as a toddler, Turtle is sent to live with her aunt and a man who abuses and molests her. To protect the child, her aunt gives her to Taylor, begging her to take care of her. At first, all Turtle does is hold onto things, but she eventually develops a personality. She learns to speak, at first mostly saying the names of vegetables. She attaches to Taylor and flourishes due to her love.
Granny Logan is Lou Ann's grandmother. While she and Ivy fight all of the time and are often not speaking to each other, they still support each other by simply living together and recognizing that family is very important.
Ivy Logan is Lou Ann's mother. While she is bigoted about Lou Ann's Hispanic husband, she is the support network that Lou Ann always relied upon.
Mattie is the proprietor of Jesus is Lord Used Tires, which was named by her religious late husband. She is a tough woman, and she is dedicated to fighting for justice for others. She runs a station on an underground railroad for illegal refugees who are fleeing violence in their own countries.
Virgie May Parsons
Virgie May Parsons is Lou Ann and Taylor's neighbor. She is small-minded and rude, yet she and Edna support each other. Together, the two women often care for Dwayne Ray and Turtle.
Edna Poppy is Taylor and Lou Ann's neighbor. She is much nicer than her roommate. Taylor does not realize for quite some time that Edna is blind. Turtle is with Edna when a man tries to hurt her in the park.
Angel Ruiz is Lou Ann's husband. He changes after losing his leg in an accident and drifts away from his wife. Eventually, he leaves her.
Lou Ann Ruiz
Lou Ann Ruiz comes from rural Kentucky and ends up in Tucson. She lacks self- confidence and so continually denigrates herself. After Taylor moves in with her, Lou Ann begins to treat herself a little better. Eventually, she develops a life of her own and self-confidence.
Dwayne Ray Ruiz
Dwayne Ray Ruiz is Lou Ann's son, with whom she was pregnant when her husband left her.
Father William is a priest who moves refugees along the underground railroad.