January 30th, 2013
Queenlessness, motherly figures, and racism are all very important key themes in The Secret Life of Bees. A motherly figure is a roof for when it rains, and a guardian from difficult times. She is a wall to pain and a barrier to injury. Queenless communities have no feel of protection from any threat. A queen keeps a community stuck together. Some people believe that racism is the most important theme in The Secret Life of Bees; however, because a motherly figure is a protector and guardian, queenlessness would remove a sense of safety and create chaos in the face of harm. When a community is left queen less, it goes frantic, breaks apart slowly, with no sense of safety. A queenless community results in frantic and confused people. There is no one to maintain the calm, therefore everyone goes wild. The community breaks apart slowly with no one to be the glue in it. Lily feels hurt without a queen when she “didn’t know how long I (she) sat there feeling broken to pieces”(40). Queenlessness makes the sense of safety disappear. Without this sense of safety around the people, everyone doesn’t feel protected. No one would feel like anything was “...all right. I’m here. I’ll be taking care of you now”(108). This sense of protection is key to build a strong community. A queenless community is a frantic community, break apart and separating, without a sense of safety, with no motherly figure. A motherly person is the unifying force of a community, joining it, protecting it, and retaining it. She is the glue to any community, binding the people together as a family. Lily needs Nolan 2
a mother in her life to help her through struggles. She needs a queen to seem “...all of a sudden like my (Lily’s) mother was there, up against my (her) body, like she was bits and pieces of insulation...