In The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, Lily’s life is tough throughout the book, and she probably has not lived the most expected desirable life with the conflicts and struggles she encounters. Lily’s “chains” in the book are the mystery and death of her mother and the prejudice in her communities and the racial assumptions she makes. Although Lily never actually knew her mother, she still plays a huge role in the novel and Lily’s life, and the racial prejudice leads to violence, problems, and solutions.
Lily’s relationship with Deborah is not the clearest relationship. Sometimes she loves her and other times she hates her mother. At first, Lily sees her mother as a loving and caring person, one that loves Lily with all her heart, but when she is told by T. Ray that she left Lily and never loved her at all, it is hard for Lily to understand this and take it in. “How could she have left me? I stood there several minutes looking out on the world, trying to understand (Kidd, 40).” When T. Ray tells this to Lily, it leads to a major turning point in the book because it makes Lily leave T. Ray and sneak out with Rosaleen, and during their escape, they meet the Boatwright sisters, who provide shelter and food for them the rest of the lives. Lily is mad at her mother for not being there for her, for not loving her. She was nothing like Lily thought she was, making Lily hate her. “[…] what a perfect specimen of a mother she was. All of it was lies. I had completely made her up (Kidd, 252).” During her talk with August, she blames her mother for leaving her with T. Ray and that she had not been good enough for her.
In The Secret life of Bees, Kidd demonstrates how Lily struggles with the prejudice in her communities and her own racial issues she meets and overcomes in the book. When Lily portrays racism, it is definitely not the way the type of racism that was shown by the men that beat Rosaleen when she tried to vote. But...
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