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Considering the pattern of female relationships established throughout The Bean Trees, Taylor's reprimand of Lou Ann is a jarring shock, as she seemingly retreats from the idea of living with Lou Ann and Dwayne Ray as a family. Yet upon closer inspection Taylor's words betray a different anxiety; she does not wish to live in a family environment like "Blondie and Dagwood," in which Lou Ann plays the submissive wife to Taylor's dominant husband. It is not the idea of a family to which Taylor objects, but the idea of a paternalistic relationship, even with Taylor in control. She instead strives for greater equality.