Study Guide

Animal Dreams Carob Trees

By Barbara Kingsolver

Carob Trees

If you've heard of carob pods before, it might be because someone tried to convince you that they're a healthy substitute for chocolate. Let us be the first to tell you: they're not. Just eat the chocolate.

But maybe our girl Codi doesn't know that yet, so as she chills out next to a liquor store one fine day, she finds herself chewing on some carob pods. And where there's carob pods, there's gotta be carob trees nearby.

The interesting thing about these carobs is that they are "dioecious." That means you need a male carob tree and a female carob tree to make little carob babies. We promise we're getting somewhere with this.

When Codi sees the female carob tree, she relates to it. Before you let your imagination run away, we should clarify that she doesn't literally want to be a tree. The thing that catches Codi's attention is that the tree is all alone—and because she's recently dumped Carlo, Codi's alone, too. For the first time in a whole decade.

Yeah, we'd be feeling pretty lonely, too.

At the end of the novel, when Codi seems to be returning to Grace (and Loyd) for good, she finally spots the male carob. It's by the train depot—which makes it even more obvious that the male carob is a symbol for manly old Loyd. The signage is pretty clear on this one, Shmoopers: the male and female carobs are Loyd and Codi, and in Loyd, Codi has finally found her true partner.

Let's just hope their future little human babies are sweeter than those carob pods.

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