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The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver is a story about a community of women who help each other to succeed The community of women is focused around Mattie a woman who runs a garage that is also a sanctuary for illegal refugees The women all have pasts burdened with sacrifices both mentally and physically Mattie helps tend to the metaphorical wounds that the women have from the past and present The community of women are all refugees from some sort of violence or fear The underground railroad that Mattie and the sanctuaries are running is very similar to the underground railroad that the bean tree has to support Mattie takes the refugees away from something harmful and provides a safe environment for them This theme is present throughout the story that positive things can come from bad situations The Bean Trees thrive in poor soil which indicates that life can grow from anywhere with a little help This story is named the Bean Trees because the system that Mattie runs with all of the refugees is exactly like the system the bean trees run with the rhizobia One of the main characters in this book Mattie creates a community of female refugees which acts as a metaphorical heaven Taylor a young woman from Kentucky who avoided the burden of pregnancy by moving finds herself with a child that was informally given to her by a woman She later names the child Turtle Turtle is a metaphorical refugee from the physical abuse that was bestowed upon her as a child Turtle finds her own haven in Taylor because she was the first adult that provided a safe environment for her Taylor finds herself living in a spare bedroom of Lou Ann s house a woman who recently separated from her mean and unloving husband and eventually they bond together These people come together to form a community of women along with two Central American refugees named
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