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Love and Fear in The Bean Trees

            Realities of Motherhood: Levels of Love and Fear in "The Bean Trees".
             It has been said that he who fears not gives advantage to danger. No matter what kind of fear it is-even the anxiety that is so deeply engraved into parental DNA- fears weakens the mind and the body. In Barbara Kingsolver's The Bean Trees, main character Taylor obtains a completely unanticipated child upon her arrival in Tucson, Arizona after rigorously avoiding motherhood in her hometown of Pittman, Kentucky for several years. When she finally comes to terms with her new found motherhood she faces multiple challenges. Eventually Taylor meets Lou Ann, an insecure single mother going through her own personal battles. Barbara Kingsolver uses the experiences, short-comings, heartbreaks, epiphanies and erroneous fears of these two fledgling mothers to illustrate why fear in general-whether in the form of self-doubt, paranoia or fear of being replaced -is often not based in reality.
             Lou Ann's lack of self-confidence and yearning for a father figure influence her as a mother and fuel her anxiety and it is not until real disaster strikes that she realizes that fears should not dictate her life. After being abandoned by her husband, Angel, Lou Ann's insecurities escalated. She admits, "I feel like my mama's whole life stopped counting when daddy died," (Kingsolver 148). Lou Ann is afraid of raising her child alone and she often fears for the safety of her and her young son, Dwayne Ray. It is clear that Lou Ann's fears are not based in reality because often they are driven by horoscopes and imaginings. When she describes a dream she had to Taylor, she confesses the magnitude of her fear. She says, "This angel came downand he said: 'I was sent to you from the future of this planet.' Then he told me my son would not live to see the year two thousand it scared me to death." (209). Lou Ann searches for catastrophe where there is none because that is what is most familiar to her.

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