Bean Trees Chapter 04

Chapter 4
Ideas to Reflect on When Reading Chapter 4

  1. Consider the power relationships between the generations of women in Lou Ann’s family. The text specifically mentions “the power of mothers and grandmothers” (54). What is this power? Is it healthy or not? How does the irrationality and racisim of Granny Logan affect your judgement of this power?
  2. The marriage of Lou Ann is clearly a problem here. Why does she try to hide this from her family? Why can she tell Bobby Bingo about her problems but not her own family? What do Bobby Bingo and Lou Ann share in common? Think about how conditional the love of Bingo’s son is–he supposedly loves his dad, but yet his actions and words hurt his father. How do they differ in values? How is this situation parallel to Lou Ann’s? What is the meaning of his warning, “`Whatever you want the most, it’s going to be the worst thing for you’”? Do you agree with this view? Why or why not? Is it too pessimistic? What is the cost of loving someone whose values you despise?
  3. Consider the symbolism of baptism and the jar of water for the baptism. What does Angel do with the water? What is the symbolism of the water’s fate? What is important about Lou Ann’s memories of her own baptism? What does Lou Ann’s inability to feel her childhood feelings imply or suggest?
  4. The last five paragraphs of this chapter indicate a future direction for Lou Ann and her relationships to Angel and Dwayne Ray. What do these paragraphs imply about the future relationship of Lou Ann and Angel? of Lou Ann and Dwayne Ray? What is Kingsolver trying to tell us about family and marital relationships?

Review Questions

  1. Who are Grandmother Logan and Ivy Logan?
  2. Why does Ivy Logan’s humming bother Lou Ann?
  3. What is Lou Ann’s boy called?
  4. Why does Angel move back into Lou Ann’s house?
  5. Why do Lou Ann’s mother and grandmother show up for a visit?
  6. What question does Lou Ann almost ask her mother?
  7. On what day is Dwayne Ray born?
  8. What gift does Granny Logan give to Lou Ann?
  9. What is the name of the man who sells good tomatoes?
  10. What advice or wisdom does the vegetable man give Lou Ann?
  11. As Angel moves around the house, what conclusion does Lou Ann come to?

New Characters

  • Ivy Logan
  • Dwayne Ray Ruiz
  • Bobby Bingo
  • Bill Bing
  • Manny Quiroz

The Setting: Imaginary Places

  • Burger Derby
  • Hotel Republic
  • Kid Central Station

Idioms, Slang, and Difficult Words

Cultural and Historical Allusions

Medical, Natural, and Geographic Allusions

Great Quotes

  • “‘Let me tell you something, tomato lady. Whatever you want the most, it’s going to be the worst thing for you.’” (62)
  • “She turned her head in time to watch him leave the room, his work shirt rolled up at the elbows and dirty from doing something all day, she did not know exactly what. For a brief instant, no longer than a heart-beat, it felt strange to be living in the same house with this person who was not even related to her.
    But of course he’s related. He’s my husband. Was my husband.” (64)
  • “The baby’s sucking at her felt good, as if he might suck the ache right out of her breast.” (64)