The Bean Trees

Taylor’s Mother Character Analysis

Taylor’s mother, whose full name is Alice Jean Stamper Greer Elleston. She raised Taylor as a single parent and unconditionally supported Taylor throughout her life and loves Turtle for Taylor’s sake. Taylor’s mother gets remarried to Harland Elleston over the course of the novel, forcing Taylor to reevaluate what she thought she knew about being an independent woman.

Taylor’s Mother Quotes in The Bean Trees

The The Bean Trees quotes below are all either spoken by Taylor’s Mother or refer to Taylor’s Mother. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Family and Motherhood Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the HarperTorch edition of The Bean Trees published in 1998.
Chapter 1 Quotes

There were two things about Mama. One is that she expected the best out of me. And the other is that then no matter what I did… 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.

Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:
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Taylor’s Mother Character Timeline in The Bean Trees

The timeline below shows where the character Taylor’s Mother appears in The Bean Trees. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: The One to Get Away
Family and Motherhood Theme Icon
Disaster and Survival Theme Icon
Belonging and Homeland Theme Icon
...Hardbines are a family at about the same low economic status as the narrator and her mother , but the narrator like to think that she and her mother have much more... (full context)
Family and Motherhood Theme Icon
Feminism and Solidarity Among Women Theme Icon
...Miss Marietta, the way that she had to address the well-off children that she and her mother cleaned for as Miss or Mister. Marietta explains that her mother often supported Marietta’s wishes,... (full context)
Family and Motherhood Theme Icon
Feminism and Solidarity Among Women Theme Icon
Nature Theme Icon
Marietta tells her mother about her job insecurities while the two shuck peas on their front porch. Her mother... (full context)
Family and Motherhood Theme Icon
Feminism and Solidarity Among Women Theme Icon
As Marietta and her mother continue shucking peas, Marietta describes her mother as someone who has put her wild times... (full context)
Family and Motherhood Theme Icon
Disaster and Survival Theme Icon
Belonging and Homeland Theme Icon
...that she is not cut out to work in a hospital. But as she tells her mother about the day’s events that night at dinner, she decides that she has probably seen... (full context)
Family and Motherhood Theme Icon
Disaster and Survival Theme Icon
Belonging and Homeland Theme Icon
...to get out of rural Kentucky: saving what she can to buy a used car. Marietta’s mother insists that Marietta has to learn to change a tire if she is going to... (full context)
Nature Theme Icon
Belonging and Homeland Theme Icon
...beaten up to continue. Taylor thinks about the irony of where she ended up, because her mother always spoke of their Cherokee head rights as a security blanket if things got really... (full context)
Feminism and Solidarity Among Women Theme Icon
Disaster and Survival Theme Icon
Belonging and Homeland Theme Icon
...on it wearing turquoise and red, Taylor’s favorite colors. Taylor decides to send it to her mother . The only other patrons in the bar are two men in cowboy hats, one... (full context)
Chapter 6: Valentine’s Day
Feminism and Solidarity Among Women Theme Icon
Nature Theme Icon
...withstand Turtle’s tough grip. While shopping, Taylor also picks out a Valentine’s Day card for her mother . Taylor still feels guilty for betraying her mother by changing her name, even though... (full context)
Chapter 8: The Miracle of Dog Doo Park
Family and Motherhood Theme Icon
Feminism and Solidarity Among Women Theme Icon
Taylor finds out that her mother is getting remarried, to a man named Harland Elleston who works at a car body... (full context)
Feminism and Solidarity Among Women Theme Icon
Nature Theme Icon
Lou Ann circles back to talking about Taylor’s mother . Taylor scoffs that her mother, already named Alice Jean Stamper Greer, doesn’t need to... (full context)
Chapter 13: Night-Blooming Cereus
Family and Motherhood Theme Icon
Disaster and Survival Theme Icon
Belonging and Homeland Theme Icon
Mattie waves goodbye to Taylor, looking at Taylor the way that Taylor’s mother does. She then kisses Estevan, Esperanza, and Turtle goodbye as Taylor starts to cry. Taylor... (full context)
Chapter 17: Rhizobia
Family and Motherhood Theme Icon
Feminism and Solidarity Among Women Theme Icon
Taylor calls her mother from a pay phone, the first time she’s called since Taylor found out that her... (full context)
Family and Motherhood Theme Icon
Feminism and Solidarity Among Women Theme Icon
Taylor’s mother breaks more surprising news: she has retired from cleaning houses and told off all of... (full context)