The Bean Trees: Novel Summary: Chapter 10 -12
Chapter 10 -12
Taylor runs into Edna Poppy at the store without Virgie, who is sick at home. For the first time, she discovers that Edna is blind. She and Virgie are so mutually dependent that Taylor never even noticed that the woman could not see.
Taylor also goes up to visit Esperanza. She does not have much to say to her, but she does say how sorry she is. She asks Esperanza to retain hope and tells her how much Estevan loves her.
Lou Ann is looking for a job. Although she still denigrates herself, she is taking the initiative and trying to find work because she knows that Angel's checks are going to stop coming soon.
Lou Ann gets a job at Red Hot Mama's salsa factory. She is very enthusiastic about the job and gets promoted to manager in three weeks. The job gives her a great deal more self-confidence. During the few hours both she and Taylor are at work, Edna Poppy and Virgie Parsons watch the children.
Then, Angel sends a package and says he misses her. He wants to reconcile and asks her to come to Montana, where he is living in a yurt. Lou Ann does not know what to do, as she does not want to leave her job behind.
Estevan and Esperanza's legal situation is tenuous. Mattie's house is no longer safe for them, and they have to be moved someplace further north. Everyone is on edge.
On the first day of rain, Mattie takes Taylor, Estevan, and Esperanza out into the desert to smell the rain. It is wonderful, but when they return, Taylor finds Turtle again in a catatonic state. Edna had taken her to the park and a man had tried to hurt her, but Edna swung at him even though she could not see him.
When the police arrive, there is no evidence Turtle has been molested again. Nonetheless, she does not talk. Taylor is despondent. She feels it is her fault and she cannot protect Turtle from all the bad in the world. She wishes she could, but there are so many people out there trying to hurt others. She does not go to Turtle to comfort her, leaving that to Lou Ann.
Taylor has always been strong and gutsy. She encourages Esperanza to have hope because "some people never have anybody to lose, and I think that's got to be so much worse" than losing someone (156). Now, when Turtle is threatened by the evil in the world, Taylor realizes how vulnerable she is because she loves someone so much. This is the first bad thing to really get her down, and it is able to knock her down because she cares about someone. Although she loved her mother, here she is trying to protect this child and that concern makes her feel the danger all around her. It is like she says to Lou Ann, "The flip side of worrying too much is just not caring" (163). She and Lou Ann worry because they love the children.
Despite all the evil in the world, the love of a group of people can help. Kingsolver brings up many living things that thrive in the desert where life seems barren. "Mattie said all the things that looked dead were just dormant. As soon as the rains came they would sprout leaves and grow" (170). Turtle was like that; she seemed catatonic but she sprouted when she had love. Now, she is catatonic again from fear, but if the desert can keep coming back to life after it has been a harsh environment, so can Turtle.