The Bean Trees Quotes

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The Bean Trees (Greer Family, #1) The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
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The Bean Trees Quotes (showing 1-30 of 54)
“There is no point treating a depressed person as though she were just feeling sad, saying, 'There now, hang on, you'll get over it.' Sadness is more or less like a head cold- with patience, it passes. Depression is like cancer.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“In a world as wrong as this one, all we can do is make things as right as we can.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“There were two things about Mama. One is she always expected the best out of me. And the other is that then no matter what I did, whatever I came home with, she acted like it was the moon I had just hung up in the sky and plugged in all the stars. Like I was that good.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“A human being can be good or bad or right or wrong, maybe. But how can you say a person is illegal? You just can't. That's all there is to it.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“Sadness is more or less like a head cold - with patience, it passes. Depression is like cancer.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“I had decided early on that if I couldn’t dress elegant, I’d dress memorable.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“It's terrible to lose somebody, but it's also true that some people never have anybody to lose, and I think that's got to be so much worse.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“Tortolita, let me tell you a story,” Estevan said. “This is a South American, wild Indian story about heaven and hell.” Mrs. Parsons made a prudish face, and Estevan went on. “If you go visit hell, you will see a room like this kitchen. There is a pot of delicious stew on the table, with the most delicate aroma you can imagine. All around, people sit, like us. Only they are dying of starvation. They are jibbering and jabbering,” he looked extra hard at Mrs. Parsons, “but they cannot get a bit of this wonderful stew God has made for them. Now, why is that?”

“Because they’re choking? For all eternity?” Lou Ann asked. Hell, for Lou Ann, would naturally be a place filled with sharp objects and small round foods.

“No,” he said. “Good guess, but no. They are starving because they only have spoons with very long handles. As long as that.” He pointed to the mop, which I had forgotten to put away. “With these ridiculous, terrible spoons, the people in hell can reach into the pot but they cannot put the food in their mouths. Oh, how hungry they are! Oh, how they swear and curse each other!” he said, looking again at Virgie. He was enjoying this.

“Now,” he went on, “you can go and visit heaven. What? You see a room just like the first one, the same table, the same pot of stew, the same spoons as long as a sponge mop. But these people are all happy and fat.”

“Real fat, or do you mean just well-fed?” Lou Ann asked.

“Just well-fed,” he said. “Perfectly, magnificently well-fed, and very happy. Why do you think?”

He pinched up a chunk of pineapple in his chopsticks, neat as you please, and reached all the way across the table to offer it to Turtle. She took it like a newborn bird.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“That was when we smelled the rain. It was so strong it seemed like more than just a smell. When we stretched out our hands we could practically feel it rising up from the ground. I don’t know how a person could ever describe that scent.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“You're asking yourself, Can I give this child the best possible upbringing and keep her out of harm's way her whole life long? The answer is no, you can't. But nobody else can either. Not a state home, that's for sure. For heaven's sake, the best they can do is turn their heads while the kids learn to pick locks and snort hootch, and then try to keep them out of jail. Nobody can protect a child from the world. That's why it's the wrong thing to ask, if you're really trying to make a decision."
So what's the right thing to ask?"
Do I want to try? Do I think it would be interesting, maybe even enjoyable in the long run, to share my life with this kid and give her my best effort and maybe, when all's said and done, end up with a good friend.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. The most you can do is live inside that hope, running down its hallways, touching the walls on both sides.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“I’ve been thinking about that. About how your kids aren’t really yours, they’re just these people that you try to keep an eye on, and hope you’ll all grow up someday to like each other and still be in one piece.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“Mi'ija, in a world as wrong as this one, all we can do is to make things as right as we can.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“You think you're the foreigner here, and I'm the American, and I just look the other way while the President or somebody sends down this and that . . . to torture people with. But nobody asked my permission, okay? Sometimes I feel like I'm a foreigner, too.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“Whatever you want the most, it’s going to be the worst thing for you.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“It was hard to feel the remotest sympathy for any of the different fools she'd been. As opposed to the fool she was being now. People hang on to that one, she thought: the fool they are right now.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“So one time when I was working in this motel one of the toilets leaked and I had to replace the flapper ball. Here’s what it said on the package; I kept it till I knew it by heart: ‘Please Note. Parts are included for all installations, but no installation requires all of the parts.’ That’s kind of my philosophy about men. I don’t think there’s an installation out there that could use all of my parts.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“Mama always said barefoot and pregnant was not my style. She knew.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“I have been afraid of putting air in a tire ever since I saw a tractor tire blow up and throw Newt Hardbine's father over the top of the Standard Oil sign.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“That means you're my kid," I explained, "and I'm your mother, and nobody can say it isn't so.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees, With Related Readings
“We do have some strong traditions of community in the United States, but it’s interesting to me that our traditionally patriotic imagery in this country celebrates the individual, the solo flier, independence. We celebrate Independence Day; we don’t celebrate We Desperately Rely on Others Day. Oh, I guess that’s Mother’s Day [laughter]. It does strike me that our great American mythology tends to celebrate separate achievement and separateness, when in fact nobody does anything alone.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“When I was Turtle’s age I had never had anyone or anything important taken from me. I still hadn’t. Maybe I hadn’t started out with a whole lot, but pretty nearly all of it was still with me.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“There is no point in treating a depressed person as though she were just feeling sad, saying, There now, hang on, you’ll get over it. Sadness is more or less like a head cold—with patience, it passes. Depression is like cancer.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“Do you know, I spent the first half of my life avoiding motherhood and tires, and now I’m counting them as blessings?”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“She made it plain that her fondest wish was to have a grandbaby. Whenever fat Irene would pick up the baby, which was not too often, Mrs. Hoge would declare, "Irene, you don't know how becoming that looks." As if someone ought to have a kid because it looked good on them.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“If people really gave it full consideration, I mean, like if you could return a baby after thirty days’ examination like one of those Time-Life books, then I figure the entire human species would go extinct in a month’s time.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“A disappointed-looking Jesus eyed her from the wall...Look, look, her steps called out, here is a red headed sinner on the move.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“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?”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“always tried to be positive with her, although I’d learned”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees
“If you can't live by the laws the LORD God made for the world, they'll go into effect regardless.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees

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