The Bean Trees

Why is it ironic that Taylor has acquired a child?


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The discovery of the abuse inflicted on the baby solidifies Taylor’s commitment to the young child. At first she does not know what to do with the child, but immediately after seeing proof of sexual abuse, Taylor writes her mother to say that her “head rights . . . [are] coming with [her],” implying that she now sees the child as an inalienable part of her.


Taylor's sudden Œadoption' of the Indian child is an event filled with irony, for just as Taylor escapes a society in which she could have a role only primarily as a mother, she suddenly comes to become the mother to an Indian child. Having spent so much time trying to avoid having a child she would not want, she finds one simply placed in her lap. The details of the Œadoption' are significant, and Taylor's objections are well-founded: she foreshadows later legal problems that she will have in establishing custody for the child.