Figurative Language In The Bean Trees

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In Barbara Kingsolver’s story, “The Bean Trees”, something that makes it so effective is her use of figurative language to depict scenery. In chapter 12, Mattie takes Taylor, Esperanza and Estevan to a beautiful desert at the time of the first rain, so they can see the natural world come to life. In order to make the scene come alive, Kingsolver uses sillies, metaphors and personification as a mean of figurative language.

Kingsolver personifies the mountains and city. “The sloped desert plain that lay between us and the city was like a palm stretched out for a fortuneteller to read, with its mounds and hillocks, its life lines and heart lines of dry stream beds”. By describing the landscape as the palm of a human hand, she gives living qualities
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“A cool breeze came up behind us, sending shivers along the spines of the mesquite trees.” The text contains elements of the unconscious process of shivering and allows Taylor to project her inner feelings onto the landscape. The language mirrors how Taylor’s mind works and shows this by sending “shivers along the spines of the mesquite trees” as well as up her own spine, almost personifying the trees.

Kingsolver’s descriptions of the natural landscape, shows her consciousness of the environment. “The whole Tucson Valley lay in front of us, resting in its cradle of mountains”. Her phrase, “resting in its cradle of mountains” makes an analogy of the valley to a baby. The rest of the phrase includes “city like a palm” and “life lines and heart lines”, which suggest an adult. This quote is an example of personification and unusual use of metaphor.

In chapter 12 of “The bean Trees”, Kingsolver shows the beauty of nature through her figurative language. Her descriptions of the natural landscape, show that the land embodies a life of a baby to an adult- from birth to death. Taylor falls in love with the Arizona’s desert land and sky, and her appreciation for nature is mirrored in the landscape that is in front of
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