The Bean Trees

Why are birds a well known symbol in this book?

I understand that they come up a lot in the story and all but what is the significance of the bird? What does it mean? How does it connect with the characters? Which characters does it connect with?

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Last updated by tracey c #171707
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birds are most of the time associated with Turtle, even the name is symbolic like when the baby turtle is abandoned as a child it has strong survival instincts. As Turtle’s life changes, so do the birds that symbolize her. Later, Taylor takes Turtle to the doctor and discovers the gravity of the abuse Turtle has suffered. As she makes this discovery, she sees a bird outside the doctor’s window. The bird has made its nest in a cactus. Like the bird, Turtle’s life persists in spite of her painful surroundings. After Turtle encounters the robber, a sparrow gets caught in Lou Ann’s house, and the bird’s being scared suggests Turtle’s own fright and confusion. The sparrow’s living suggests that Turtle will survive her life.


the beans trees