Women In Barbara Kingsolver's The Bean Trees

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In a government survey of rape and domestic violence, “Nearly one in five women said that they had been raped or had experienced an attempted rape at some point, and one in four reported having been beaten by an intimated partner” (Rabin). This is a demonstration of the inequality that women face in society as they are targets of abuse and assault. Barbara Kingsolver is an author that uses her stories to enlighten her audience on the inequalities of society. In her most popular novel, The Bean Trees, Kingsolver tells the story of two struggling mothers, Taylor, a young woman who adopts a Native American girl on reservation, and Lou Ann, a single mother that has to overcome her worries to support her new born son. Barbara Kingsolver uses elements of fiction to show the negative effects of the objectification of women by connecting the problems that her female characters go through to the problems women face in real life.
In The Bean Trees, Kingsolver writes how women are portrayed as sex objects through her characters’ thoughts of the image of women in media. An example is when Lou Ann is walking home, and walks past the strip club’s provocative entrance,
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Kingsolver uses media in the book to show how women are over sexualized. Kingsolver shows women treated and seen as objects that are used for others’ gain, not as individuals with their own thoughts. There are also examples where the women are mentally and physically abused, and the consequences of these problems. The Bean Trees is a novel that questions the treatment of women and girls in not only the time it was written, but even in today’s society where many of these issues are still present. Kingsolver wrote her novel to spread awareness to the discrimination and injustice through a cohesive narrative and her characters’ development to connect to her
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