Thursday, May 24, 2018

                                                       “The Bean Trees” Notes

·      Today’s assignment for EuroLit:
o   Finish “Demian” chapter eight
o   Possible pop quiz tomorrow
·      Today’s assignment for English 9 Honors:
o   Finish reading “The Bean Trees”.
o   Prepare for the 200-point test tomorrow (05/25/18).

·      What is the external conflict question?
o   Can Taylor keep Turtle from being taken away help Esperanza and Estevan?
·      Internal conflict question:
o   Can Taylor make a decision about helping Turtle, Esperanza, and Estevan?
·      Chapter 12: Into the Terrible Night
o   Taylor’s “empty despair” is from seeing the ugliness of the world when Turtle is attacked (179).
o   Lou Ann tells Taylor to fight back against the empty despair.
§  Taylor ignores Lou Ann’s advice, saying, “I’m just not up to the job”.
·      None of us feel up to taking on the world alone.
·      Chapter 13: Night-Blooming Cereus
o   Lou Ann responds by saying that “it’s the only other world that we’ve got”(185).
§  “You live in that world”(143).
o   Page 187: Internal conflict question: “Do I want to try…”
§  Taylor questions if she even wants to raise Turtle as her own.
§  “So how does a person make a decision that important?”
·      Most people don’t decide, but they have to make a choice.
o   Page 190: “I thought that ought to be your decision”-Cynthia
§  Cynthia is the social worker.

o   The internal conflict resolution: “Listen, I’ve made up my mind about something… I’m going to see if I can find any of Turtle’s relatives”(192).

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

 “The Bean Trees” Notes

·      Today’s assignment for EuroLit:
o   Read “Demian” chapter 7: “Eva”.
·      Today’s assignment for English 9 Honors:
o   Read “The Bean Trees” pages 168-199.
o   Don’t forget to turn in your essays!

·      We enjoyed seeing Turtle getting better.
·      We feel excited by all the twists and turns.
·      Chapter eight: The Miracle of Dog Doo Park
o   Taylor and Lou Ann learn that Turtle’s name is April.
o   Vines were growing under the ground: wisteria plants bloom and  “grow out of bare dirt”(119).
o   Taylor finds it ridiculous that her mother is getting married.
o   Kingsolver has Taylor’s mother get married to show how Taylor’s mother needs to get help from others while Taylor wants to support herself without others.
§  Taylor’s attitude towards men is a view that men are not necessary.
§  “You talk about men like they’re a hangnail.”(117).
§  Taylor’s mother’s marriage hints to her that perhaps Taylor does need a man in her life, and may lead to her having growing feelings for Estevan.
o   Another contribution to the controlling image of the story: The flowers blooming out of “bare dirt”(119).
§  Symbolizes the continued growth and strength of immigrants even in inhospitable conditions.
§  How you deal with what you’re dealt: Esperanza’s suicide attempt, “
o   People can change even in their old age, and perhaps Taylor will experience that change.
o   Estevan’s insight about American’s way of thinking is “they must have deserved it” spurring from a desire to have bliss from ignorance rather than face the consequences of reality, as Estevan must (123).
o   We don’t want to think we are evil, and we believe that only bad things happen to bad people, so we avoid responsibility for our actions.
o   The doctor says that Turtle has hidden scars, internal fractures, but that the condition is completely reversible.
§  All the characters have complications and hidden scars in them that they can heal and move past.
o   Taylor’s observance of the birds living in the cactus symbolizes how Taylor is making the best out of what she has, and how even (149)
o   We can strive for excellence, even in the face of obstacles.
o   Esperanza and Estevan live in a sanctuary,
o   Terry is a man who comes by occasionally takes care of the torture victims from Guatemala.
·      Chapter 9: Ismene
o   Ismene was taken from Estevan and Esperanza, and placed into a foster family.
§  By integrating native children like Ismene into the political elites, they indoctrinate the natives into the necessary mindset.
§  Ismene did not fight against the state, and now gets to become part of the ruling family.
o   A nutter is someone who is poor and goes around picking up walnuts, with stained arms and hands.
§  The rich kids like the cheerleaders and upper level discriminate against nutters because of the stained hands, similar to the discrimination faced by those that look different from the upper class.
o   Page 140: Estevan tells of Guatemalan police usage of the telephone: An electrical interrogation device.
§  Taylor is very na├»ve, thinking the telephone is used to call the people being interrogated.
o   Estevan says that he can see why it is easier for Taylor not to know about the horrors of Guatemalan torture.
§  Ignorance is bliss.
o   Page 143: “’The child was Ismene.’ I was afraid…”
§  Why are Guatemalan elites so afraid of teachers?
·      Teachers confer knowledge, and thus give the people the power to overthrow the government.
§  “These children are adopted by… official couples” that “cannot have children.”
§  “I can’t even begin to think about a world where people have to make choices like that”
§  We choose not to know, or to forget rather than to be free. However, we are condemned to be free.
§  “That my whole life had been running… on dumb luck, and I hadn’t even realized.”
§  What we think is our benefactor may turn out to be our worst nightmare
·      Chapter 10: The Bean Trees
§  The bean trees symbolize what?
§  Esperanza means wait and hope, until good things happen.
·      Hang on, even through the worst times, as a miracle might happen.
§  “That door is what gets me… Don’t ignore it.”
§  “What I’m saying is you can’t just sit thee. You’ve gotta get pissed off.”

§  The trouble that’s in the air for Esperanza is “They would come into your house… Yes… When people run for their lives, they frequently forget to bring along their file cabinets…”(166-167).

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

                                                       “The Bean Trees” Notes

·      Today’s assignment for EuroLit:
o   Read “Demian” Chapter 6
o   Read “Jacob’s Wrestling” (Jung packet)
·      Today’s assignment for English 9 Honors:
o   Read “The Bean Trees” pages 114-167

·      Chapter Four: Tug Fork Water
o   Lou Ann’s relationship with her mom grandma is mostly friendly, but somewhat controlling.
o   Lou Ann wants to baptize her son with water from the Tug Fork
o   The father pours out the water in the sink. What does it symbolize?
§  Throwing out her traditions and replacing them with his.
o   Prevailing mood: Exhausted and sad, because Lou Ann has to keep her failing marriage a secret from her mother.
o   What is Bobby Bingo’s advice?
o   Lou Ann has to realize that she needs to leave Angel.
o   Why does Lou Ann pretend to still live with Angel? To get the approval of her mother.
o   Angel poured the Tug Fork water down the drain.
·      Chapter Five: Harmonious Space
o   How did she refer to the kids?
§  The bean curd kids (tofu).
o   Kingsolver is mocking the hippies and the bean curd kids in this passage.
o   Taylor says that the Cherokees must have skipped a generation with her when questioned about her and Turtle.
o   The ice cube tray incident sparked memories in Turtle of a past abusive incident.
o   The name of the cat is Snowboots.
o   What connection does Snowboots have with Turtle?
§  Both stare blankly at things that are not there.
·      Chapter six: Valentines Day
o   Mattie owns the Jesus is Lord Used Tires shop.
o   The Spanish people living with Mattie are tied with the bean trees from the previous chapters, tying into the idea of immigration.
o   Lou Ann imagines everything as the worst scenario first, very self deprecating and believing that everything is her fault.
§  Feels worthless.
o   Taylor is more self-confident than Lou Ann.
o   Lou Ann’s attitude towards drinking shows that she and Angel had a very bad incident when they both went drinking, and that Lou Ann does not trust Angel when she thinks she did something but he says the meteor shower happened.
o   Taylor seems to feel that men are not worthwhile or necessary to be happy in life.
§  Taylor says that Lou Ann is lucky to not have a father.
§  Taylor’s mom taught her how to live in the real world.
o   “Live free or bust” and the man in the maze Indian symbol apply to the novel so far by tying into the idea of freedom versus happiness.
o   The chapter is titled Valentines Day ironically.
·      Chapter seven: How They Eat in Heaven
o   In the afterlife, everyone has spoons that are too long to feed themselves with.
§  In Hell, no one can feed themselves because they cannot feed themselves.
§  In Heaven, everyone feeds everyone else with the same spoons, working together.
o   Turtle shows signs of recovery by speaking her first words, using chopsticks, playing with the beans…
§  Turtle playing with the beans is symbolic of Turtle accepting…
§  Why is Turtle so interested in vegetables? We don’t know.
o   Estevan is Esperanza’s husband.
o   Why is Esperanza’s name ironic?
§  Esperanza means hope, but she does not have much hope.
§  Esperanza is reminded of a child she met in Guatemala when looking at Turtle.
o   “Turtle has to take everything on faith.” In what way?
§  Because Turtle is handed off from person to person, she has to have faith that the hands she falls into will take care of her.
o   One major motif of the novel is that power is found in the hands of certain groups (whites, men, etc.), and how the abuse of that power hurts others.
§  The effect of that abuse of power is shown from the victim’s perspective.
o   What is the story Estevan tells at the end of the chapter?
§  How people eat in Heaven by feeding others, and starve in Hell because they try to feed themselves.
§  No one gets anywhere if they do not help others.
§  The author is depicting her own views of what is afterlife in a non-orthodox viewpoint.
§  The story depicts the abuse of power and how it harms everyone.

§  Denotatively, the people in Hell are only trying to help themselves, but those in Heaven help others and are helped by others.