The Secret Life of Bees by: Sue Monk Kidd

Topics: African American, Secret Life, The Secret Life Of... Pages: 4 (1638 words) Published: April 22, 2013
The secret life of bees by: Sue Monk Kidd

The story in The Secret Life of Bees is that of Lily Melissa Owens, a young girl who reaches puberty in rural South Carolina in 1964. Lily's mother dies when Lily is 4 years old. That day, her mother had been packing a suitcase when her father, T. Ray, raged into the house, and a big argument ensued. Her mother took a pistol off the shelf, but sometime after it fell to the floor, her mother was shot. Lily remembers the loud blast, but she can't remember who was holding the gun. Her father tells everyone Lily accidentally shot her mother. T. Ray has a short fuse which leads to lots of verbal abuse and some physical abuse. Lily and her father are opposites. She loves reading and writing, he belittles her for reading. He's a racist and critical of others, she's tolerant and respectful of everyone. After her mother dies, T. Ray hires a black nanny, Rosaleen, to care for her and do the household chores. Lily loves Rosaleen although she thinks since Rosaleen has never had children of her own, Lily is her guinea pig. Rosaleen, who represents the stereotypical black figure of that time period, loves Lily and treats her as if she is her own. One day Rosaleen and Lily go to town so Rosaleen can register to vote. In town a group of white men taunt Rosaleen and she spills her snuff jar on their feet. The men beat Rosaleen until the police come and take Rosaleen to jail. At the jail, the men beat her some more. T. Ray comes to the jail to take Lily home. Back on the farm, Lily and T. Ray get into an argument, in which he tells Lily that Deborah her mother was going to leave her when she died. Lily gets so angry and she runs away. Lily frees Rosaleen from the hospital, where she was sent after her second beating. Rosaleen and Lily go to Tiburon, South Carolina because Deborah had a picture of a black Madonna on the back of which she wrote “Tiburon, SC.” Lily figures this town must have been important to...
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