The Secret Life of Bees Essay

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Hannah Boyer
Mr. O’Mara
English IV; Period B
8/25/08

The Secret Life of Bees

Bees, honey, the Black Madonna, the 1960’s, the power of women, what do all of these things have in common? All of these things are what one would think of when reading the book, The Secret Life of Bees. Those who have read The Secret Life of Bees know that it is not a book about different kinds of bees and how bees live their lives, but it is a book about a poorly treated girl named Lily who runs away from home. She runs away to Tiburon, South Carolina with her friend Rosaleen. While in South Carolina, she makes friends with three black women who make honey, a black man named Zach, who she comes to love, and a group of Catholics known as The Daughters of Mary. In the book The Secret Life of Bees, there are many themes. Racism, friendship, and dealing with a loss are just three of the major themes. Racism is one of the major themes throughout the book, The Secret Life of Bees because even though slavery was no longer a big issue in this book, blacks were still not treated equally. Rosaleen and Zach were both thrown in jail at one point for being “rude” to white people. Rosaleen was even beat up by the meanest African American hater around. Blacks also didn’t have the same privileges as whites, like when April had to eat her ice cream outside while all of the kids were allowed to eat their ice cream inside and look at the comic books. Throughout the story, blacks were not treated as well as whites were and they were often thought of as being stupid. One example would be when a policeman came to August’s home, on the night of May’s death, to interview everyone and he told Lily that she should go live with her aunt or some other family member of hers instead of staying in that house. He told her that it was just not right for a white person to live in a colored person’s house but Lily didn’t care. Another very important theme in the book, The Secret...
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