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Secret Life of Bees Written by Sue Monk Kidd

Essay by   •  September 5, 2011  •  Book/Movie Report  •  1,526 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,227 Views

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The title of my second book is the secret life of bees, written by Sue Monk Kidd. Placed in the category of historical fiction.

It was set in Tiburon, South Carolina, in 1964. The historical context was the year of the civil rights act, and the freedom of the African American race. The tension between both black and whites is almost comical.

The point of view is first person limited.

Lily Owens is a young teenage girl who is beautiful with her long black hair and pretty eyes. She describes her eyes as "Sophia Loren eyes." She is a girl who struggles with her past. Having accidentally killed her mother and having a father who doesn't really care about her, lily is miserable. When she runs away from home, with her African American cleaning lady, Rosaleen, lily finds a beautiful place owned by the three Boatwright sisters.

The oldest sister, August Boatwright, is attached to lily through Mrs. Deborah Fontanel Owens. Having raised lily's mother, august knew the first time she saw lily that she was the daughter of Deborah. August is a very tall very plump African American woman who does not take orders from anyone. She is kind and thoughtful. She is the shelter not only for lily but for her mother to.

Deborah Fontanel Owens is lily's dead mother. She is a beautiful woman with a nice smile and long black hair. She was depressed having married a man she had no interest in, while also supporting a baby. When lily was born the words she said to august were "she is so pretty it hurts my eyes to look at her." When Deborah couldn't stand living with T. Ray any longer she ran away, she ran to the Boatwright house. Three months later she goes home and tries to take lily with her but is accidently killed while fighting T. Ray, lily's father.

Zach Taylor is a sturdy handsome African American boy. He is lily's support and love. He helps August with her Bee keeping Job, delivering honey and storing it in jars. He is smart, handsome, and hardworking with a dream to become a lawyer.

One theme of the book is the motherly role the Boatwright sisters and the daughters of Mary take. They take lily in giving her the long wanted love and comfort of a motherly figure. Not only that but she makes friends with women. Lily struggled with making friends, not always aware that it's what's inside her that counts. In the little group of women, Lily sees how strong women support, tend to, comfort, encourage, and love one another by noticing all the bonds between the Daughters of Mary. Through their examples, and by being included in their group, Lily begins to feel authoritative as a woman.

The line "I go back to that one moment when I stood in the driveway with small rocks and clumps of dirt around my feet and look back at the porch. And there they were. All these mothers. I have more mothers than any eight girls off the street. They are the moons shining over me." This is the motif of motherhood and love.

Another theme is the racism; and the irrationality it brings. Like in the beginning when lily and Rosaleen are walking into town to register Rosaleen to vote. Walking through the "bad part" of town the two ladies walk by three of the most racist white men in all of Sylvan, after Rosaleen poured her snuff spittle on their shoes, she and Lily were taken to jail. Later, after Lily was taken home by T. Ray, Rosaleen was beaten by the white men.

The book opens with Lily lying in bed thinking about her abusive father and her dead mother. She is lonely and is comforted by the bees that fly around her room almost every night. The next morning she accompanies Rosaleen into town and when Rosaleen "punishes" three white men for being racist

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