Barbara Kingsolver's
The Bean Trees

"Jesus is Lord Used Tires"

Visitors Since 8/10/99
Last Update

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.

Non-representational Art
image of non-representational art
"Inner City"
1997 Bunnye Meisel

image of fishnet stockings
Fishnet Stockings

image of poodle skirt
Poodle Skirt

image of crazy quilt
Crazy Quilt

image of Beau Geste video box with Gary Cooper's picture
Beau Geste video,
starring Gary Cooper

1957 Ford Thunderbird car image

A 1957 Thunderbird

Secretariat winning the Kentucky Derby in 1973, also the1973 Triple Crown winner


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

Links last verified 5/14/03

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
Page numbers from the large-sized paperback edition
  • "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)
The Author Chapter One, "The One to Get Away"
Chapter Two, "New Year's Pig" Chapter Three, "Jesus is Lord Used Tires"
Chapter Four, "Tug Fork Water" Chapter Five, "Harmonious Space"
Chapter Six, "Valentine's Day" Chapter Seven, "How They Eat in Heaven"
Chapter Eight, "The Miracle of Dog Doo Park" Chapter Nine, "Ismene"
Chapter Ten, "The Bean Trees" Chapter Eleven, "Dream Angels"
Chapter Twelve, "Into the Terrible Night" Chapter Thirteen, "Night-Blooming Cereus"
Chapter Fourteen, "Guardian Saints" Chapter Fifteen, "Lake O' the Cherokees"
Chapter Sixteen, "Soundness of Mind and Freedom of Will" Chapter Seventeen, "Rhizobia"
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