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Abstract

This essay documents Barbara Kingsolver’s use of fictional characters and situations to instill in her reader a type of empathy that supports her own political agenda. In her novel, The Bean Trees, Kingsolver presents a subplot that details the plight of Esperanza and Estevan, two Guatemalan refugees fleeing their country from political persecution. In exposing the hardships the Guatemalan couple face as illegal immigrants in the Unites States, Kingsolver expresses her own political critique of American foreign policy and immigration law. Specifically, this essay will focus itself on the way in which her novel, The Bean Trees provides political critique on U.S. foreign policy and its intervention in the Guatemala civil war. Additionally, the essay will examine the novel’s protagonist Taylor, and her shift from a naïve worldview as representative of Kingsolver’s agenda aimed at convincing her readers to become more politically conscious.

LISE ROBINSON is currently enrolled in her final year of the Honors Specialization in English Language and Literature program at Huron University College. Her interests in the study of the English discipline are centered within the broad range of English theory surrounding issues of class, gender, race, sexuality and culture.


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