The Secret Life of Bees - Hero's Journey Essay

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Kc Keppler
January 13, 2012
Block D - English

Lily’s Journey Towards Self Discovery and Maturity - Bees

In the novel, The Secret Life of Bees written by Sue Monk Kidd, there is one particular motif that one might call ‘all important,’ this motif is the bees that fit into Lily Melissa Owen’s, the main character and protagonist of books, heroic journey towards self discovery and finding a way to open up to others. The bees in this story represented and lead her, piece by piece, to her finding herself and accepting the imperfections in her life. The book is initially set in Sylvan, South Carolina where Lily was born and raised by her father and mother before her mother’s untimely death. But the setting quickly changes to Tiburon, South Carolina when bees that Lily had kept in a jar give her a call to her journey when she glanced over at the open jar – representing her own freedom as well as the bees. The sign of the bees departure from her holding them captive gave Lily a sense that someone was speaking to her only to help her understand the “her jar is open.” This sets off her journey to save her wrongly accused housekeeper from jail cell and runaway to Tiburon in search for information on her mother. This event immediately shows an initial step forward in Lily’s search for self-discovery.

Although the bees give Lily her call to journey they help her in several ways that bring her to happiness, acting as almost a subtle guide to her. The initial steps Lily takes with the bees’ help are in the first few chapters but after her call to journey, her prized possession, a picture of her mother with the word ‘Tiburon’ on the back and a picture of a black Mary are what leads Lily to a lake right by Tiburon, South Carolina. The honey label brings Lily to a bright pink house owned by the Boatwrights, a group of black sisters called the calendar sisters, August, June, and May, who live together and make a living off of honey. Lily is welcomed to stay and...
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