A ‘get away’ can be appreciated from The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver in which the main character experiences a change, a change in her way of thinking. The passage serves to present a theme about the upcoming events in the book. It does so by describing the changes that the author lives through, her reactions to it, and even unexpected surprises encountered during her ‘rebirth’ stage that gives the reader hints or clues leading to the upcoming.
The reader is able to apperceive the protagonist’s mind because of the author’s simple fashion of writing, and its relatively easy comprehensibility.
At the beginning, she adopts a new name as she adopts a new perspective on the world, broadening out from her rural Kentucky background to a larger view of life. She realizes a name’s importance by reflecting that we receive it, and we do not choose it (line 6-7), but admits she had influence in choosing her new name. Her anxiety to get a new name, therefore adopt a change (the motif in this passage), displays itself in line 5: “I didn’t have anything special, but just wanted a change.” This gives the reader a question in mind: Why the urge to forget the past? The answer can not be responded with this passage, but instead, the excerpt leaves it to the imagination. In addition, the cars driving and gas stations contribute to the meaning of an upcoming life. They are both associated with a ‘vacation’, a ‘trip’, or just the search for something enjoyable, and there has to be a ‘refueling’ that, in this case, occurs mentally. The character refuels by thinking about her mother (discussed later).
In Oklahoma, she meets Bob Two Two, who, according to her, asked for a fair price (line 42) that left her with almost half the money she had. She used Bob to fix her car because she perceived the place she ‘landed on’, as a “godless stretch of nothing” (line 44). That part is where she broke her promise. She had stated that she would stay whenever her car ‘gave out’. It is clear that she had influence in both her name and the place she would stay, furthermore revealing the lack of firmness in her promises, which displays her naï¿½vetï¿½.
Moreover, she seems to have a strong bond with her mom. The simple fact that she calls her mom ‘Mama’ exhibits a relationship in which names of affection are given and heartedly accepted. I wonder what her mom called her… In addition to her relationship with her mom, we can infer that the name giving exists from an admiration towards her, an admiration to her adult thinking in contrast to her naï¿½vetï¿½, previously explained. All this thinking about her mom ‘refuels’ her, for an unknown upcoming event (foreshadowing).
She presents the Cherokee land as being godless. “The Cherokees believed God was in the trees”(line56), and then she explains the landscape: “From what I could see, there was not one tree in the entire state of Oklahoma” (line 59). This statement shows the character’s beliefs toward religion, or perhaps homeland. An interpretation could be made from the fact that she perceives her own family’s past as being archaic, something that does not influence her and her new persona. “From what I could see…” (line 59) cues us that she has a limited perspective and “could never see too far” (line 32). However, her mom probably was not talking literally when she said that they “can always go live on the Cherokee Nation” and meant that it was an open place of mental peace. Here lies the difference that her mom and the protagonist had, and from that difference comes an admiration…
The protagonist demonstrates signs of depression throughout the text by the style in which she describes her thoughts. “I would drive west until my car stopped running, and there I would stay” (line 25-26) is her way of showing vague thinking. In other words, no sane person would take such a huge risk. Another example occurs during the time that the character was engaged in reverie. At the time her car was fixed, she says, “I could have fixed it myself” showing that after she saw what Bob Two Two did, she knew what he did was simple. It shows that she did not even attempted. She could even be considered suicidal as well, because of her relationship with God in the text. For example she uses particular phrases like, “nothing left to hope for” (line 35-36), “godless” (do you see God when you want do die? Does reassurance exist in you?) (Line 44). In addition, when she imparts that “there was not one tree in the entire state of Oklahoma” she says, in other words, that she did not “see” trees in the horizon, hence life in her horizon.
The passage uses literary features to attract the reader’s attention toward the text and allure him, enhancing his understanding, like personification, used in line 8 to incarnate the car, as if it was able to make decisions. In addition, on line 25-26, she uses metonym and metaphor to establish the relationship between the car and the supposed-wheels ‘running’. Used in line 31, is antithesis that serves to emphasize Oklahoma’s flatness. Along with those mentioned, she also makes use of diction (Southern slangy). Nevertheless, perhaps one of the most prominent literary resources used is irony. The author used irony at the end, when she abruptly stated that there was no God in Oklahoma, when the reader was expecting all, but the opposite, based on the context.
The inevitable advancing course of time that turns people from children to adults, and from adults to elders, is an undying theme. In this text, the character decides to run away and attempts to make a ‘rebirth’. One cannot deny that everyone, at one time, desires to ‘get away’ and wishes to ‘go past those mountains’ even if it means changing our name.