Did you ever think someone could change so much in a six month period? Well, Taylor did. She changed her name, town, family, and friends constantly. Taylor is a strong woman, and now she's even stronger been the things she has gone through on this bumpy journey.
There are many different ways Taylor became the strong woman she is today. One example is when Foster Greer Taylor's dad hasn't been around since Taylor was a baby, so her mother Alice raised her all on her own. Single motherhood plays a huge role in The Bean Trees, Alice acts like Taylor "hung up the moon" (13), and shes never done anything wrong though her family is in poverty. She is a single mother and does pretty much anything and everything she can to support her family to the best ability she can by holding down the house with two jobs and teaching Taylor to be like her and be responsible. Taylor helps her mother with a lot around the house and the tasks life has in itself, such as, helping her watch the children, ironing the clothes, and cleaning other houses.
Also, other examples of Taylors strengths include when she leaves her mother behind. I know I couldn't even imagine leaving my friends let alone my family behind, or move away and travel all by myself. Taylor did this at the beginning of the book and the beginning of her adult life. Taylor's mother pushed her to get a job and then she managed to find one at the hospital from her science teacher Mr. Hughes Walter. Taylor then used this job to accomplish her goals and make her dreams come true. She wanted to move far away. Throughout her years working at the hospital she managed to save up some money to buy herself a decent car, a '55 Volkswagen Beatle. With this '55 Volkswagen Beatle, Taylor "intended to drive out of Pittman County one day and never look back." (14) Then, she finally left.
One of Taylors goals was to head westward from Kentucky, where she would fulfill her promises to herself. The first promise she made to herself was to change her name to which ever town her car ran out of gas in first. "I made two promises to myself. One I kept, the other I did not. The first was that I would get myself a new name." (15) The second promise was to stay in the very city her car brakes down in first. For this very reason she changed her name from Missy to Taylor because she landed in the town of Taylorsville. The place Taylor's car broke down was in the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma. It was kind of ironic for her car to break down in the Cherokee Nation because Taylor is one eighth Cherokee. Taylor's mother, Alice Greer always said "If we run out of luck we can always go live on the Cherokee Nation." (17) Taylor then got her car fixed which cost her half of her money that she had saved up. She became to hate Oklahoma so she then left.
An act of responsibility was when Taylor decided she was going to keep the baby (Turtle). Taylor stepped it up and made a fabulous decision to keep Turtle. Taylor's original "plan had been to sleep in the car but her plans had not taken into account a wet cold child." (27) Taylor decided she was going to get a hotel room that night so she could give the baby a bath, feed her, and take some responsibility for this child like her mother taught her. Another way of Taylor showing that she is responsible is when she was living in Tucson, Arizona when she worked at the Burger Derby for six days and then quit. She one day found a new place to eat her morning meals and took a look at the newspaper. She tried to find places to rent and looked for roommates. She found two places and went to visit them. She didnt like the first place but it was still an option. The second place she loved and moved into was Lou Ann's house. They both found that they had a lot in common and "established their hometowns in Kentucky were separated by only two counties, and that they both were at the same exact Bob Segar concert." (96) Also, they are the same exact age. Lou Ann is a single mother with a little boy named Dwayne Ray.
Taylor has changed a lot throughout the book and with being a single mother to a child thats not genetically hers, Turtle. In the very beginning of the book she stated that she didnt want any children and could never picture herself having any. But now she has Turtle to take care of. Taylor takes care of Turtle as if she is her own and loves her very much. Also, Taylor looked at men as functional objects, useless, and only wanted one thing from women. After she met Estevan all those thoughts changed because she saw him for who he was and fell in love with him, only he wasn't hers to have.
It must be really hard living with someone you barely know but Taylor and Turtle's relationship blossomed tremendously. First, Taylor couldnt get Turtle to speak at all but near the end of the book she talks so much and they actually have some what of a conversation up until Turtle almost got stolen. With all the love and support Taylor had for Turtle, she was able to get back to her normal ways and recover quickly. After that whole incident, the police discovered Turtle and Taylor had no legal ties to one another. The government then took Turtle away from Taylor. Taylor was just about to throw in the towel and give up completely but her friend Mattie gave her the encouragement she needed to be the strong woman she now is. She went to the state social worker to see what she could so and Cynthia told her she needed a legal birth certificate or legal documents stating she was the legal guardian. Taylor then went to Oklahoma looking for the answer, only when she got there she didnt receive nor find any information. She headed back to Arizona to ask Estevan and Esperanza to forge an adoption. They agreed to go through with it and all four went down to Mr. Armistead's office to explain that Estevan and Esperanza simply couldnt take care of Turtle and wanted Taylor to be the legal parent. Mr. Armistead made it final and they all became a combination of new friends and family.
Although it may have taken Taylor quite some time and a whole entire book to come to the final stage in her life long growth, she became the mother she needed to be for Turtle. She would do anything and everything she needed to make sure Turtle has all her necessities and is safe. Taylor protects her and encourages and helps Turtle grow to be the best she can. Turtle looks up to Taylor, it was just what Turtle needed. Just like what is said in Turtle's vegetables soup song, Taylor states "And me. I was the main ingredient." (312)
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