Secret Life of Bees

In: English and Literature

Submitted By llantinga
Words 1578
Pages 7
English 102

12/10/13
Secret Life of Bees In 1964, Lily Owens is fourteen years old. She has no mother, a father whom she despises, and no friends to turn to when she needs a shoulder to cry on. Not only does Lily have to deal with feelings of loneliness and betrayal caused by her parents, but in a time troubled by negativity towards the Civil Rights Act, she is also faced with situations that force her to grow up very fast. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd is a page turning novel about Lily’s journey to find answers to her past. There are themes and symbolisms throughout the book. Racism, forgiveness/coping, and bees are big ones for many characters throughout the novel. The summer of 1964 in South Carolina comes at the peak for race relationships in American history, a summer when much of white Americans showed no respect towards the blacks. The nature of racism is discussed throughout Lily’s story. It is important to understand she grew up in the South, where races were separated by both law and attitudes. Lily does not attempt to reconcile her love for Rosaleen with her understanding that blacks are inferior to whites. “Rosaleen pulled back the towel; I saw an inch-long gash across a puffy place high over her eyebrow.” (Kidd). Is one of the first times she started to see racism, but not to the fullest understanding. When Rosaleen’s life is threatened by a system that Lily doesn’t understand, she knows only that she must save Rosaleen’s life, even if it means leaving home and breaking the law. Anne-Janine Morey from Christian Century says in her criticism piece, “Imperfectly integrated with her spiritual journey is Lily’s account of racism, as Rosaleen prepares again to register to vote, and a neighbor is arrested on trumped-up assault charges during an altercation with local racists.” (Morey). Lily seemed to notice it but not to…...

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