A the process. This is certainly the case for

A famous writer, Robert Heinlein, explains, “Being a mother is an attitude, not a biological relation” (Heinlein). This is a sentiment shared by many people who choose to adopt, rather than having their own children. By adopting, these individuals are creating their own family and making a home in the process. This is certainly the case for Taylor Greer, the main character in Barbara Kingsolver’s novel, The Bean Trees, when she takes on and ultimately adopts, Turtle, a young Native American girl who is abandoned by her biological family. “Family” refers to people that one loves, while home refers to someone’s comfort zone. Barbara Kingsolver’s novel, The Bean Trees, forces readers to reconsider the traditional family, as Taylor creates a family with the people around her who are not blood relatives, but are the significant people in her life. In the beginning, Taylor is very clear about the fact that she does not want to be a teen mom.  Despite this fact, she proves that she still wants to have a family and bring everyone together by giving Turtle the life she deserves, and giving her a safe house to grow up in. Taylor is not Turtle’s real mother, and she does not know everything about Turtle, or what she has gone through in her past. Taylor states, ” I thought I knew about every ugly thing that one person does to another, but I had never even thought about such things being done to a baby girl….and I just prayed she had enough backbone not to fall over and drown, because I had to let her go” (24). Once Taylor realizes that Turtle has been abused, she feels miserable because she doesn’t know how many times she has gone through that trauma. This is where Taylor starts to realize how she wants to take care of Turtle, and give her the life she deserves to have. These choices reveal that Taylor is not only willing to, but wanting to care for Turtle because she wants to give back to her and give her a life that she can look back and reflect on.  Taylor develops a bond with Turtle, but still needs to find a place for them to settle down. As Taylor is finding a place for her and Turtle to stay at, she comes across a woman named Lou Ann, who is looking for a roommate and is living with her son Dwayne Ray. As they both share the same qualities, they become best friends. Taylor shares, “‘Within ten minutes Lou Ann and I were in the kitchen drinking diet Pepsi and splitting our gussets….We had already established that our hometowns in Kentucky were separated by only two counties'” (75). This reveals how much of a bond they create, coming out of the same hometown, trying to have a better life for not only them, but their children as well. Since they are both from Kentucky, they can understand what each other is trying to say. They want to show their children that family comes first in any situation, and that if someone comes knocking on your door, you welcome them with warming arms.Since Taylor is not Turtle’s biological mother, Taylor experiences struggles that Turtle’s biological mother may not have had to face in order to create a legal family. Once all the documents are settled for Taylor to fully adopt Turtle, Taylor and Turtle are on their way back home. Taylor explains, “‘You know where we’re going now? We’re going home’. She swung her heels against the seat. “Home, home, home, home’, she sang. The poor kid had spent so much of her life in a car, she probably felt more at home on the highway than anywhere else.” (246). Here, Turtle finally begins to realize what home is, and that she actually has a home to grow up safely in with a mother who will give her the best life possible. Overall, home is a place where someone goes to which is more of a safe zone for them. Turtle begins to understand what home means, and what it feels like to actually have a home. Estevan and Esperanza who are illegal immigrants from Guatemala are also in desperate need to find a hideaway. Taylor gives Estevan and Esperanza the life they deserve and the life that they’ve always wanted, by helping them to get past what happened in their past in Guatemala. As Estevan and Taylor are talking, he tells her about his home back in Guatemala and all the violence he went through. Estevan states, “‘I don’t even know anymore which home I miss. Which level of home. In Guatemala City I missed the mountains. My own language is not Spanish, did you know that?'” (203). Taylor realizes that Estevan and Esperanza have experienced more than one type of dislocation in their lives, and that they are willing to restart from where they left off, and create a new journey, but they need Taylor’s help. Not only does Taylor assist Turtle in gaining a good life, but she also helps Estevan and Esperanza gain their own independence by giving them their own safehouse and the possibility of starting a new chapter in their lives. Ultimately, Turtle, Estevan, and Esperanza could not have had a home or family without Taylor’s help. Taylor’s assistance led to them being able to start over with new people and a new place, who had their best interest at heart. Had Taylor not chosen to be there for each one of these people, they would not have ended up with a true home and a family full of different unexpected people. With the help and guidance from Lou Ann, Taylor was able to please Turtle with a safe house for her to live in. Family is not limited to blood relatives, it is the people who you love, and who you treat as a someone, that is important to them. Home is where the heart is at ease and you’re in a safe and comfortable place with all of the people you hold dearly. Family is an important thing to have in life. Having a family that is caring and loyal can shape people’s relationships throughout their lives. Family is there with a helping hand when you need some support in a tough situation. It not only has to do with support, but it helps you move on in your journey in life to achieve many things and be successful. Even if you live in run-down house, your still lucky to have a roof over your head, because some people don’t even have a house. So the big picture is, be grateful that you have a house to live in with a family who will love and care for you no matter the circumstances.


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