1) “Lou Ann shuddered. ‘That door’s what gets me. The way they made the door handle. Like a woman is something you shove on and walk right through. I try to ignore it, but it still gets me.’ ”
Lou Ann is discussing Fanny Heaven, the strip joint right across from Jesus is Lord Used Tires. This is a very significant part of the novel, because this is the first point in the novel where Lou Ann freely conveys her views on a topic. As Lou Ann is getting used to the idea that she is a single mother, she is expressing her concerns with the wrong way that women are represented in the community she lives in. This additionally provides an insight on the relationship between Taylor and Lou Ann. Lou Ann feels comfortable declaring herself with Taylor, in contrast to the awkwardness that she felt in discussing topics with Angel. Lou Ann is progressing into becoming a strong-minded individual, similar to Taylor.
2) ” ‘Oh, I believe she did. This is how Americans think.’ He was looking at me in a thoughtful way. ‘You believe that if something terrible happens to someone, they must have deserved it.’ ”
Estevan is explaining to Taylor the reasoning behind Virgie Parson’s comment on illegal immigrants. This quote further gives the reader insight on the delusions that Americans have. Virgie believes that the two immigrants, the mother and the son, did something illegal to end up getting killed. However, this is not Virgie’s fault entirely. It is her political misapprehensions that are fueling the negative feelings that she has towards illegal immigrants. Additionally, Americans were unknown to the horrific genocide that was occurring in Guatemala in the 1980′s. Therefore, they were resigned to accepting that people were immigrating to the US without any reason.
3) “I took out the stamps I had brought from home wrapped in waxed paper, and licked one and stuck it on my souvenir postcard from the Cherokee Nation. I added a line at the bottom: ‘I found my rights, Mama. They’re coming with me.’ ”
Although this strange child has been thrust upon Taylor, Taylor had already written to her mother that is bringing Turtle along with her when she comes to visit. Taylor is unaware at this point in the novel if she can even provide adequate care for Turtle, however she has already accepted responsibility for her. She sees Turtle as her “head right.” This showcases Taylor’s ability to adapt to change and her willingness to accept the liability for something that she has had no control over. Furthermore, this gives additional insight on Taylor’s somewhat unpronounced wishes to move away from Pittman. She has had no difficulty adjusting to Tuscon, and seems to prefer change rather than familiarity.
4) “Feeding a girl is like feeding the neighbor’s New Year pig. All that work. In the end, it goes to some other family.”
This statement made by Lee Sing, the grocery store owner, declares the deluded views of the society towards women. Lee is telling Lou Ann that she wishes that Lou Ann has a baby boy rather than a girl. She doesn’t believe that baby girls are worth anything, and unfortunately she makes the comparison that feeding a girl is valueless because in the end a girl will marry into another family and leave. Seeing as we know that Lee is an immigrant, we can infer that she has this view point because this belief has been passed down from her ancestors. Women were not worthy compared to men in many Asian countries. For Lee, this statement seems ironic, because she is a woman and should have more respect towards her own gender. (We can deduct that Lee is an immigrant from an Asian country from the beginning of the novel where it is stated that her mother brought the bean trees in Mattie’s garden when she immigrated.)
5) “Lou Ann, I moved in here because I knew we’d get along. It’s nice of you to make dinner for us all, and to take care of Turtle sometimes, and I know you mean well. But we’re acting like Blondie and Dagwood here. All we need is some ignorant little dog Spot to fetch me my slippers. It’s not like we’re a family, for Christ’s sake. You’ve got your own life to live, and I’ve got mine. You don’t have to do all this stuff for me.”
Taylor is obviously not used to having someone care for her need the way that Lou Ann has. Taylor seems bothered by the fact that Lou Ann is more homely and more maternal than she is. Taylor is sometimes unaware of what is right to do in certain situations when it comes to offering care for Turtle, whereas Lou An knows exactly what to do and is also very concerned about the overall welfare of her child. Taylor, more so, does not seem to want a family life. She is very independent and doesn’t want a family life putting a damper on her freedom.
6) “It didn’t seem to matter to Turtle, she was happy where she was. . . . She watched the dark highway and entertained me with her vegetable-soup song, except that now there were people mixed in with the beans and potatoes: Dwayne Ray, Mattie, Esperanza, Lou Ann and all the rest. And me. I was the main ingredient.’
This, quotation towards the end of the novel, explains Turtle’s growth from the very beginning to the very end. Turtle’s distinct change has come from the nurturing nature that Taylor has provided for her and the love and care she has received. Turtle’s abuse caused her confused, scared behavior and like her name, she clung on to Taylor like a mud turtle. Now, Turtle is happily singing her favorite vegetable song and adds the name of the people that she has developed love for. A very important thing to note is that Turtle now believes that Taylor is the “main ingredient.” Turtle is aware that out of all the others, Taylor is going to be the one that is there for her at the end of the day no matter what and will do her best to keep Turtle safe and out of any danger. Taylor also now makes her stance on Turtle very clearly. She recognizes that she is Turtle’s “ma” and identifies that Turtle has grown to love her, as she has grown to love Turtle.