Happiness Westward: An Essay About The Bean Trees
Taylor, like many Americans wanted a better life for herself. All around her, girls were getting pregnant and thus having to stay in Pittman County, Kentucky to raise a family. Taylor decides to head west until her car breaks down. This idea was not seen through, however, because when Taylor hit Tucson, Arizona, she decided to make it her home. Even though she had managed to escape getting pregnant back in Pittman, she ended up with a small girl to care for. This was likely the reason why she did not continue going west. So did Taylor find a better life through all this, or should she have just stayed home? The answer to this question is debatable.
First, lets compare her financial situation. Back in Pittman County, she lived with her mother who certainly seemed to at least get food on the table, even though she wasn t by any standards rich. Taylor s financial status at the beginning of the book is indicated on page two with the following quote: which is not to say that we, me and Mama had a dime to our names . Several chapters later, however, as Taylor settles down into Tucson, we find that she seems to be doing better. She has moved in with Lou Ann, obtained a job, and is taking good care of her adopted child. Since she is able to support herself and Turtle in Tucson, it seems that she s done fine financially.
Next, Taylor s emotional well-being comes into focus. She obviously wasn t happy with the life Pittman had to offer her. Pittman girls were quick to get bound into marriage by pregnancy, and this was not what Taylor wanted, as shown on page four with the following quote: Mama always said barefoot and pregnant was not my style . Once she gets settled into Tucson, she seems more content with her life. She has found a new family , new friends, and a stable living for herself and Turtle.
Lastly, we should consider what responsibilities Taylor has in Tucson, and had in Pittman, which make her life worth living. In Pittman, it seemed that she only wished to leave. There was nothing else for her to work towards. In Tucson, however, her life takes on purpose as she now has a little girl to raise. She demonstrates many times over her commitment to her daughter. One example can be found on page 282, when Taylor tells Turtle, I ll try as hard as I can to stay with you .
In conclusion, I think that Taylor did find a better life for herself by leaving home. She was able to clearly see that there was no future for her in Pittman county. But by venturing west, she found that the American Dream meant finding her own purpose in life, and I think she came to realize that her purpose was named Turtle .
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