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The Comparison Of Paternalism In The Bean Trees And Animal Dreams

760 words - 4 pages

Merriam- Webster defines Paternalism as “the policy or practice on the part of people in positions of authority of restricting the freedom and responsibilities of those subordinate to them in the subordinates' supposed best interest”. Many individuals simply define it as the lack of control one has. Whether that’s through a doctor not being truthful with their patient about their illness or even a husband hiding pills from a depressed wife. In the end, they both symbolize paternalism. In Kingsolver’s novels The Bean Trees and Animal Dreams, there are clear examples of
arrogance, neglect, and abuse.
An arrogant character in Kingsolver’s Animal Dreams is Doc Homer who lives in Grace, ...view middle of the document...

Kingsolver never goes into detail about this metaphor, but rather lets the reader’s mind figure play a guessing game. Reverend often refers to himself as "the captain of a sinking mess of female minds” (The Bean Trees, 223).
Throughout many of Kingsolver’s novels, she’s showed the parallels between the United States government and society’s paternalism towards indigenous people and how that is a representation of cultural neglect. In Animal Dreams, a once beautiful river that runs through Grace, Arizona has been severely polluted from a mining company called Black Mountain dumping their sulfuric acid into the river. The townspeople use the river to water their orchards that have cultural significance to them. Some parts of the river have a “pH level higher than batter acid” (Animal Dreams, 215). Codi is sure that the Environmental Protection Agency will clean it up but the reality is that the government doesn’t care about the people’s culture “Black Mountain can just divert the river, not clean it up. The EPA requires only that much-they don't care about a culture being destroyed.” (Animal Dreams, 220). Another...

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