When loss is a Gain Barbara Kingsolver makes her characters change and grow through negative experience. The three main character's loses gain them maturity. Barbara Kingsolver's The Bean Trees reveals through the characters Lou Ann, Turtle, and Taylor, that everybody needs to experience some loss before they can mature. When Lou Ann loses Angel she gains independence.

She comes across a problem with Angel, her lover, who requests a divorce and then leaves her behind. When he comes back begging for her acceptance, 'Angel had changed his mind about the divorce. ' ; (p. 157), she dominates Angel and moves on by herself and with Taylor. 'So that's the scoop, Angel's history. Now I'm seeing this guy from Red Hot Mama's by the name of Cameron John.

Can you believe it?' ; (p. 179). She has now conquered over her situation and moves on to a new independent life. Turtle, Taylor's step daughter, experiences a hurtful, meaningful loss of them all, her mother, but gains a new family. Even though she is a young child with a little mind of her own, she remembers the death of her true mother, '... Passed four cemeteries on the way to the Pottawatomie Presbyterian Church of St. Michael... and each on them Turtle called out, Mama. (215) '; She gains maturity by sticking with Taylor learning from each other's strength.

Growing up with a different guardian looking over her, referring her as 'Mama'; , realizing Taylor is the one to love and protect her. Turtle's trauma teaches Lou Ann and Taylor how much they love Turtle and each other. Taylor leaves a lot behind her with her journey from Kentucky, but her loss leads her to meet others and to become responsible. By leaving her mother, she meets a special friend of hers, Estevan, who she also has a secret crush on.

'A much as I have wanted anything, ever, I wanted to know how that chest would feel against my face. ' (208). This quote displays how much Taylor desires Estevan. Her loss is when she comes to the realization that can never have Estevan. This loss helps her mature in such a way that she might never have without such pain. This experience is a blessing in disguise.

All the character's in The Bean Trees have experienced one or more losses in their lifetime. Lou Ann loses Angel, Turtle loses her mother, and Taylor, Estevan. All these losses in turn make the characters more mature. Kingsolver's intentions in displaying maturity through losing somebody is to show the value of maturity as the losses become the character's gains. She wants to make it known that maturity is not to be taken for granted and is to be earned, not simply handed over with age..