“kill Bean Trees. Kingsolver reveals Turtles child abuse

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me now” were the words my independent and self-spoken best friend told me. She
couldn’t handle any more of the physical and emotional abuse at her young age
as a child. Being pushed and kicked around for years until tears couldn’t break
out. Seeing her come to school with long cuts and bruises across her arms and
face. The abuse made her shut people and the world out of her life. It made her
hate herself. Caused her ability of learning and interaction to sink. Sadly,
the abuse never stopped, and she never ran away because she always hoped they
will apologies and finally care for her and protect her. But never has her
parents done that for her. Parents are supposed to care and protect the child
from harm instead some just cause the harm. It’s horrible to think she isn’t
the only one, Its stated-on Violence prevention.gov that “at least one in four
children have experienced child neglect or abuse (including physical,
emotional, and sexual) at some point in their lives”. Like in the novel The Bean Trees by Barbra Kingsolver, the
author introduces social injustice of child abuse. It all began with the
protagonist Marietta Geer who changed her name to Taylor because of that city
Taylorville in Illinois that she ended up in due to loss of gas in her vehicle.
While she was in her car outside of a restaurant in the city a woman who
dropped off a little three-year-old left it to Taylor to take. Turtle was a
name she created for the three-year-old Indian girl. This led up to Taylor
keeping turtle and meeting more characters like Mattie at Jesus is used lord
tires and Lou Ann, Edna Poppy, Estevan, and Esperanza. Through out the book
Taylor becomes closer to Turtle and understanding turtle; including other
figures in the novel. She comes to realize that Turtle might have been abused
and raped causing her to be traumatized. Taylor noticed her scars and
quietness. Kingsolver demonstrates how Child abuse demolishes the child’s
development and behavior; She reveals this through symbolism, conflict and
foreshadowing in The Bean Trees.

Kingsolver reveals Turtles child abuse and behavior by
applying symbolism and conflict. Child abuse pulls a great factor into changing
one’s behavior. Obviously its difficult to maintain the same behavior after a
trauma of abuse. Like Turtle in the novel, she was more of a closed book with a
lock. No one could have opened her up and read her. Kingsolver applied
symbolism to show this within turtle, she states Your like a mud turtle”
(Kingsolver 30). This is where Turtle got her name from. Her name symbolizes a
turtle hiding or being in a shell, the turtle will come out when ever it wants
but only if its safe. Turtles don’t come out when you want them to, only when
they can; like turtle. Child abuse causes children to shut people off and shut
anyone out like a mud turtle. Another method Kingsolver used was conflict.
Taylor was trying to bathe turtle when they first met, and she noticed Turtles
strange scars and questioned, “the fact had already burdened her short life
with a kind of misery I could not imagine” (Kingsolver 31). Taylor believes
whatever trauma or pain she has gone through must have been horrific in such a
young age Taylor couldn’t imagine such a pain. This was greatly shown to
demonstrate what could have caused Turtles behavior to not talk to Taylor.
According to helpguid.org it says, “Lack of trust and relationship difficulties.”
(Melinda Smith) meaning when a child is abused their behavior lacks trust and a
relationship. It’s difficult for a child to gain trust and a relationship. This
is revealed through the author choice of symbolism and turtles conflict with

Another way the Author demonstrated child abuse dissolving a
child’s behavior was through more conflict. The conflict with turtles past
starting to be solved or revealed begins when she is brought by Taylor to be
checked out by the doctor for evidence of physical and emotional abuse. It is
written in the novel that, “after this amount of time we might see behavioral
evidence, Dr. P said, but there is no residual physical evidence.” (Kingsolver
164). In the quote Doctor P. was telling her that
Turtle may show more behavioral evidence of abuse than physical. Meaning that
behavioral change from abuse lasts more than the scar. In the article Wounds That Time Won’t Heal it says, “Childhood
trauma may fuel a range of persistent
psychiatric disorders.” Meaning trauma could cause issues that might end up
with you in adulthood. It is showed in the novel, she states “turtles body was
caring around secrets scars that would always be there.” (Kingsolver 172), This
scar is physical and emotional that the author say that each pain and scar
carry out a secret that hurt her and changed her behavior. Kingsolver choice of
using character interactions in a conflict exposed this Social injustice in the

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Child development is demolished in a way that it is slowed
down when a child has been abused like Turtle in The Bean Trees, Barbra Kingsolver gave great examples through her
novel with foreshadowing and symbolism, even more conflict. One example is, “on
the bias of height and weight he’d assumed she was around twenty-four months,
he said, but the development of cartilage in the carpals and metacarpals indicate
that she was closer to three.” (Kingsolver 165), before this event the author
foreshadowed Turtles development, she said Taylor saw her as a baby a frail
little thing that couldn’t speak or understand instead of a three-year-old she
assumed that Turtle was little based on her look. Child abuse caused her
growing development to slow down more than other kids. Kingsolver also says, “sometimes
in an environment of physical or emotional deprivation a child will simply stop
growing, although certain internal maturation does continue” It’s a condition
we call failure to thrive.” (Kingsolver 166). The cause of her development to
do things on her own and be healthy as a kid declining was due to what the
doctor said, “failure to thrive.” The social injustice represented by the
author shown that child abuse may cause poor child development. It could become
slower than usual and is critical to the well being of a child. It is stated
again in Wounds That Time Won’t Heal
that, “We easily understand how beating a child may damage the developing
brain”. As a child grows abuse could limit and decrease the growth of the
brain. Thank-full Barbra Kingsolver foreshadowed Turtles recovery when the bird
that got trapped in the house survived and escaped. 

The social injustice of child abuse represented in the novel
The Bean Trees revealed how a child
whose been abused can develop and behave differently than most.  But in the book, it also tells that they can
also recover. Many ways of figurative language were used to expose this social
injustice by Kingsolver. She used more than symbolism, conflict and
foreshadowing. The author included interactions amongst character’s and imagery
to show more of the injustice. No doubt child abuse is a major issue, it has
been estimated that around 702,200 children were confirmed by the child
protective services that the children were victims of abuse and neglect in 2014.
Its even crazier to think that one in seven children have experienced abuse or
neglect in the past year 2017. Kingsolver demonstrated the symptoms and effects
of the abuse on a child. Some cites have also paralleled to what Kingsolver
showed with the social injustice. Its true some people get scars and its hard
to build a relationship when your abused. This trauma and pain, is tattooed
onto the abused kids. Like tattoos they are difficult to get off and painful to
get them on. Though Taylor she protects Turtle from harm in any way. When
someone is being abused by this social injustice, someone must do something
about that and protect like Taylor. It takes more than one person to stop this
and help people. My friend may have many scars but it’s great to know someone
is there to heal those scars. Abuse may begin with “kill me now” but it will
not end with “kill me now.”








Categories: Behavior


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