Bean Trees Chapter 03

Chapter 3

As you read Chapter 3 . . .

  1. Contrast the attitude to bugs of the stange man at the abandoned gas station and that of Mattie. What does this contrast reveal about Mattie’s character?
  2. Note all the images associated with Mattie and her shop. What connotations do many of these images have–all the flowers, Jesus, the bunny mug, etc.? What does Mattie’s shop suggest about her character?
  3. Consider the types of people Taylor describes living downtown. How does society judge these groups? Do the artistic people and the homeless people get along? What does Taylor’s experience in the art gallery tell us about the relationship of the various groups?
  4. Note other signs of how social and economic status is unequal and troubled in America presented in this chapter. Consider the contrast between the unwed, minimum-wage employed mothers and the shopping mothers at Kid Central Station. Consider also the contrast between poor Kentucky and the wealthy racing community of Kentucky.
Review Questions
  1. What simile does Taylor use to describe the pink clouds of Arizona?
  2. Why does Taylor decide to live in Arizona?
  3. What does Taylor call the native child and why?
  4. Describe the woman at the used tire store? What is her name?
  5. How does Taylor feel around all the tires?
  6. Who named the tire store?
  7. When Taylor watches Mattie attend to Roger’s tires, how does she feel?
  8. What colour are the bean plants?
  9. How does Tuscon differ from Pittman County?
  10. Where do Taylor and Turtle take up residence?
  11. What is the name of the prostitute with the Reynolds Wrap miniskirt?
  12. What is the “other group” Taylor refers to?
  13. Why does Taylor start to go a little bit crazy as she walks around the gallery?
  14. What is the name of the girl who works at the Burger Derby?
  15. What is Sandi’s boy named after?

New Characters

  • Irene, Mrs. Hoge’s daughter-in-law
  • guy on street in Tuscon, no name given
  • Mattie, Matilda
  • Samuel
  • Roger
  • Sandi
  • the woman working at the art gallery
  • the priest
  • Cheryl
  • Seattle

The Setting: Imaginary Places

  • Burger Derby
  • Hotel Republic
  • Kid Central Station

Idioms, Slang, and Difficult Words

  • reticent
  • even steven
  • the dickens
  • jillion
  • towhead
  • doohickey

Cultural and Historical Allusions

Medical, Natural, and Geographic Allusions

  • Hail
  • Texas Canyon, Arizona
  • Tarantula
  • Ants
  • Bean vines
  • Nasturtiums
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Downtown Tucson
  • Phlebotomist
  • dynasaurs
  • turds
  • elephants
  • hippopotomus
  • Las Vegas
  • retardation
  • turnips
  • plasma

Great Quotes

  • “I never could figure out why men thought they could impress a woman by making the world out to be such a big dangerous deal. I mean, we’ve got to live in the exact same world every damn day of the week, don’t we?” (38)
  • “I wondered how many other things were lurking around waiting to take a child’s life when you weren’t paying attention. I was useless. I was crazy to think I was doing this child a favor by whisking her away from the Cherokee Nation. Now she would probably end up mummified in Arizona.” (45)
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