Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spoiler Alert


 If you haven't read the book already, you might not want to read this blog because it gives away information such as: 

  • Events in the book.
  • The end of the book.


Lily is the main character of the book, "The Secret Life of Bees" written by Sue Monk Kidd and she is created to have a very dark past, but still come across as a very simple and innocent girl.  When she was only 4 or 5 years old, she dealt with the loss of her mother not once, but twice.  Lily's mother first left her and her father to go live with a woman she grew up with.  Her mother, Deborah was never happy with her marriage mainly because she didn't want to marry T-Ray, but she did so anyway because she was pregnant with Lily.  The second time Lily loses her mother is a few months later.  Deborah realized just how much she loved her daughter, Lily and that she couldn't continue without her.  Deborah left where she was staying to go home and get Lily.  She tried to avoid T-Ray, but was unsuccessful.  When the fighting was getting very intense, Deborah pulled a gun out of her closet.  T-Ray tried to grab it from her but he dropped it on the floor, the gun landing right in the middle of them.  Lily, still very yound attempted to help her mother by picking up the gun to give it to her.  The next set of events is a blur to Lily and the story that comes from her father, T-Ray can not be trusted. Sometime after Lily picked up the gun, it was fired and with that, her mother was dead.  The idea of shooting her mother was a burden she had to carry with her the rest of her life.  Another thing that made her past so dark was the way her father treated her.  They did not have a relationship that was even remotely close to normal.  She did not call T-Ray dad, daddy or father, but she called him by his first name.  Right after Deborah died, T-Ray hired a nanny, Rosaleen, who becomes the closest thing to a mother she would ever have.  Her father abused her and there was pretty much nothing Lily could do to stop him.  He continuously slapped her and he made her kneel on her hands and knees on grits on the kitchen floor when she did something bad.  When Lily went to live with the Boatwright sisters, although she claimed that her mother was long dead and her father recently died in a tractor incident, she came off as very simple and polite.  Lily is is a very unique character


The theme of "The Secret Life of Bees" is loss.  Lily undergoes a lot of situations that relate to loss and it is very sad. When Lily loses her mom in the beginning of the book, she doesn't only lose her mom, but she loses her father too. After Deborah's death, T-Ray changes.  He is no longer like a father to her, he simply didn't care.  He used her as an employee to sell peaches on the side of the road (bus she didn't get paid) and he abused her both verbally and physically.  Another instance when Lily must deal with loss is when her and Rosaleen get arrested.  When they got arrested Lily was let go and Rosaleen was not.  If Lily did not break her out of jail, that would have been the second time losing a mother figure.  When Lily is in South Carolina with the Boatwright sisters, she experienced a very similar situation.  Zack was arrested for something his friend said and that was the loss of her friend.  The last instance when Lily dealt with loss was when May comitted suicide.  Lily began to feel comfortable with May and she felt like she was able to talk to her about certain things, about her mother.  Lily leads a very sad and reclusive life.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


In the book, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, the quotes at the begining of each chapter show facts about bees that represent struggles Lily has in her life and shows that in the "secret life" of bees, they go through many complex struggles much like hers.  For instance, Lily always feels an emptiness inside of her that she thinks can only be filled by her mother, who is dead. Lily can't get over the fact that her mother is gone, much like the way a hive can not operate correctly without their queen bee. Lily later finds out that similar to in a bee hive, the mother can be replaced. In Lily's own life, her mother is replaced by a number of different women: Rosaleen, August, June, and the rest of the Daughters of Mary. 

In addition, the Black Madonna, also known as Our Lady of Chains, is like a mother to Lily and like a queen bee, she is the "mother of thousands". She is like a mother because she will always be there and someone you can look to for help. In the Conversation with Sue Monk Kidd at the end of the book, Kidd said, "I pictured fabulous black women in grand hats dancing around her, coming to touch their hands to her heart. I understood in that moment that here was Lily's mother, a powerful symbolic essence that could take up residence inside of her and become catalytic in her transformation."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


The setting has a very big impact on this book because it has to do with bees and taking care of them in the outdoors, and how the bees brought Lily, Rosaleen, and April, May, and August together. In South Carolina, it was warm and that had an effect on the characters at some point in the book. Also, the setting had a backround to it, like with the pink house they all lived in and how August was Lilys Moms housekeeper and they lived in the pink house with the bees in South Carolina. The time period also had a great deal of effect in the book, Zach got in trouble a lot mainly because he was colored and he also got arrested at the movie theatre. Rosaleen tried registering to vote but she got arrested and she tried numerous times. In the end of the book it ends up that Zach goes to a white school and Rosaleen goes to register to vote again. This shows how time period affects ones life and how it changes over time.


The motif in The Secret Life of Bees would be the bees. The motif is a single thing or element through out the book that keeps recurring. This thing or element that continues to occur is mostly a dominant idea or a central theme to the book. The motif effects the text because it builds curiosity in the reader, it makes them think and wonder why this specific thing or element continues to occur? and why is it so important? and what is its purpose? These question draw the reader in more and more. In this case, the book surrounds the bees, like the bees are the center/main part of the book. The bees continue to reoccur in lily Owens life, they appear in her bedroom one night and once she begins to live with the Boatwrights the bees occur several times seeing as the family are bee keepers. The bees in this book are a symbol. They are the symbolism in this book.

Point Of View

  The book is written in the first persons point of view. The narrator takes a great part in the book, she portrays herself as the main character. While reading though, because it’s the first persons point of view, what the narrator conveys to the reader may not always be the truth. This effects the text because we may be fooled into believing what the narrator wants us to believe only to discover it’s not true. We only truly understand what Lily Owens thinks and feels inside herself because the book is written in a first persons point of view, from Lily's view. Since the narrator of the story is Lily, we are not always informed correctly about other people's feelings or thoughts, we go off of what she think, feels and speaks. We also see from Lily’s point of view her feelings on racism which is and important factor because the book is taking place during the time of racism. As a reader we cant see others peoples true views on it, only what Lily allows us, the reader, to know. Although because of the authors decision to write in the first person allows us, the readers, to really get inside her head and understand her.