The Bean Trees

Why did Taylor tell Estevan the story of Scotty Richey?


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Estevan tells Taylor quietly that Esperanza tried to kill herself by taking a bottle of baby aspirin. Mattie had found her and rushed her to a clinic in Tucson where she would not have to show papers. Taylor does not know what to saying, telling him "anything I can think of to talk about seems ridiculous next to a person's life or death." She offers him food or beer, for her vivid memories of times of crisis involve women preparing food for men. Taylor tells Estevan about a boy in high school, Scotty Richey, who was seemingly an electricity genius that killed himself. He did so because he didn't have anybody, for there was no mixing between groups in her high school. Estevan compares her high school to the caste system in India. In these groups, Taylor was a Nutter, the bottom group (the poor kids and the farm kids). Estevan tells Taylor about how the police in Guatemala use electricity for interrogation. When he says that it is easier for Taylor not to know these things, she says that it's not fair to think that she just looks the other way while the President or somebody sends down shiploads of telephones to electrocute people, and that sometimes she feels like a foreigner too, for nobody asked her permission.