Taylor Green and Lou Ann Ruiz: Different People, Similar Lives

In The Bean Tree, Kingsolver focuses on a young woman, Taylor Greer, who develops a strong social conscience through her experiences with an abandoned child, and a pair of Guatemalan Refugees. The Protagonist of the novel, Taylor is determined to avoid becoming a pregnant teen. Her early years in Eastern Kentucky have been heavily influence by her perception that Pittman County is "behind the nation in practically every way you can think of, except the rate of teenage pregnancies.” Taylor is independent and assertive, believing that she does not need and will never need a man, and firmly avoids marriage and children until, upon finally leaving Pittman County; she ac­quires an unwanted and abused Cherokee baby girl outside a bar in Oklahoma. She names the baby Turtle, for her habit of "holding on." The Bean Tree is in many ways the story of Taylor's growth and maturation, as she begins to realize her place in a vast world and learns to accept the possibility of love, both romantic and parental. Taylor contrasts with Lou Ann Ruiz who settled in Tucson with her baby, Dwayne Ray. Her husband, Angel, has just walked out on her when the story begins, and Taylor and Turtle move in with her.

Taylor Greer is brave; practical and unpredictable young woman. Taylor’s spirited, quirky voice shapes the novel. She perceives things in an original fashion, communicating her wonder at the customs and landscape of the Southwest with unusual metaphors and folksy language. Taylor settles in Tucson, Arizona, because its landscape strikes her as outlandish; newness and amusement appeal to her more than comfort or familiarity. As she contends with dangerous poverty, an unasked-for child, and many other trials, Taylor’s wit and spirit remain intact. Taylor cares for the abandoned and the exiled with increasing enthusiasm as the novel progresses. Taylor is an archetypal
hero: she leaves her home and family, descends into darkness, and reemerges to accomplish some good for the sake of her society. She also functions as Esperanza's comedic counterpart. Whereas tragedy permanently enshrouds Esperanza's life, Taylor has a chance to hold on to her daughter and her happiness. She becomes even worldlier after learning about the political corruption and personal tragedy faced by Estevan and Esperanza and the abuse inflicted on Turtle. Her sympathetic reaction to the difficulties of others reveals Taylor's tenderheartedness.

Lou Ann is soft, motherly, and worrisome; she fears her own death and the death of her child. Far more womanly in a traditional sense than Taylor is, she pines for her husband and expresses her conviction that marriages and love should last forever. But, she undergoes a transformation from dependent housewife into strong single mother. She searches for a job and accepts that she will have to support herself. She acts more boldly, scolding Taylor when Taylor does not fight hard for her rights.

Lou Ann is both a new mother and recently separated from her husband, Angel, who leaves her on Halloween, shortly before she gives birth to a son, Dwayne Ray. Lou Ann is a bundle of neuroses and fears, considering every single unlikely calamity that may befall her or her son because of a dream that she considered prophetic that foretold that her son would not live to see the year two thousand. In contrast to the confident Taylor, who becomes her roommate, Lou Ann is perpetually worried about what others will think about her, and fears saying the wrong thing and offending friends who may abandon her. However, through the course of the novel Lou Ann becomes more confident and calm, particularly after taking a job at Red Hot Mama's salsa factory and channeling her nervous energy into fervor for work there.

Lou Ann is more uptight, strict,and very protective over Dwayne-Ray. Whereas Taylor is more free will and lets Turtle do her own thin, but they both still adore their children so much. The difference between Lou Ann and aylor is that Lou Ann is depressed throughout most of the book and Taylor is upbeat and positive. The different ways of Taylor being stable and Lou Ann's being insecure eventually lend them to be the perfect roomates and the best of friends. Taylor is quite confident and headstrong. She is unwavering in her determination, and frequently sustains herself through the confidence in her, her mother, and her best friend, Lou Ann Ruiz, feel. After spending time with Taylor, who is strong person, Lou Ann takes steps that allow her gain more self-confidence. In the end, Lou Ann and Taylor form a functional family, caring for their children and for each other.