The Bean Trees

What is Esperanza's state of mind and what are the causes?

Chapter 7 : How They Eat in Heaven

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Kingsolver portrays Esperanza as a tragic and damaged figure from her introduction. The woman seems barely alive; in her shrunken state she recalls the barely living Turtle when Taylor first took her from Oklahoma. While not describing the details of the tragedy yet, Kingsolver makes it unerringly obvious that Esperanza has suffered the loss of a child, as she nearly collapses upon seeing the infant Dwayne Ray and Turtle. Estevan bolsters this assumption with his comment that Turtle reminds Esperanza of a child she knew in Guatemala. The exact details of this loss will become explicit in the following chapters, yet the occurrence of such a loss and its effect upon Esperanza are immediately obvious.