The Bean Trees

Discuss the new insights this chapter gives us into Taylor's feeling about men.

Chapter 6 : Valentine's Day

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Kingsolver deals with the problematic issue of Taylor's view of men in this chapter. There is definitely a subtext of androgyny around Taylor, who rejects her obviously feminine names (Marietta and Missy) for a more masculine moniker. Taylor views men only in terms of functionality: they can satisfy certain needs and serve certain roles, but no single man could use "all of her parts." Taylor's view of men as objects meant for functional purposes is one of her various attitudes that will shift through the course of the novel, as she learns to accept men for the less functional purposes that they may serve. Even the symbolism throughout the novel underscores Taylor's belief in men as mere tools: she buys a card that implicitly compares a man with a pipe wrench, then later makes the explicit comparison between a man and a toilet.