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Injustice Towards Immigrants Exposed In Barbara Kingsolver's The Bean Trees

1373 words - 5 pages

Since the creation of the United States, there have been several enormous waves of immigration into the country. Many people come here to pursue the freedom they have always craved. In the book, The Bean Trees, this is a familiar concept to the characters Estevan and Esperanza. They have migrated from Guatemala all the way to the state of Arizona where they will meet the protagonist, Taylor. Throughout the story Taylor learns the couple’s struggle of being undocumented immigrants in the United States. Along the way, she will learn about Estevan and Esperanza’s heart-breaking background stories as well. These characters will journey on through life despite the hardships of immigration. The book shows the struggle that they should not have to put up with. Barbara Kingsolver, the author of The Bean Trees, illustrates an immigrant’s point of view by applying literary elements, which encourages readers to feel sympathy towards immigrants, the social problems faced, and to see how unfair immigration laws are.
As immigrants struggle against their problems, the author of The Bean Trees integrates elements of fiction in order to raise awareness and sympathy towards their situation. Kingsolver used plot points in rising action in order to achieve this. One of the plot points that caused sympathy was finding out Estevan and Esperanza’s story. As mentioned before, they are illegal immigrants. They were temporarily living in a car shop where the protagonist, Taylor, was working. As she got close to them, she soon found out their hardest struggle in coming to Arizona. “Ismene wasn’t killed; she was taken” (Kingsolver 136). Ismene was the couple’s child who was taken by the government of the previous country they were living in, Guatemala. They had to sacrifice their daughter in order to be safe, which gives the reader a chance to feel sympathy for Estevan and Esperanza. Another literary device used was dialogue. “Before you know it the whole world will be here jabbering and jabbering till we won’t know it’s America” (106 Kingsolver). A flat character, Virgie Mae, was being rude towards people who migrate to another country. She makes it seem as if immigrants are taking over countries they migrate to, and they do not belong there. Many Americans are disrespectful towards immigrants who are trying to make a better life for themselves thus making readers reconsider the status of immigrants and show compassion. On top of that, specifically regarding Estevan and Esperanza, readers will see the pain they have gone through. “He handed her [Turtle] carefully back to Esperanza…Tears drained down the shallow creases in her cheeks” (213 Kingsolver). What occurred was that Estevan gave Turtle, Taylor’s child, to Esperanza which reminded her of Ismene, their daughter. The readers at this point understand how difficult it must be for Esperanza to deal with the loss of her daughter. It causes a wave of sympathy to come over the reader because as good-hearted people, it is...

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