Case study Lily Owens

Topics: Family, Family therapy, Abuse Pages: 13 (5503 words) Published: October 28, 2013
Case Study
In order to accurately assess the main character Lily Owens in "The Secret Life of Bees," the first step is to gather information about her biological, psychological, and social factors that make up her psyche. Knowing that today's confederate America's bio-psycho-social habitat is completely different than in 1964, one can gather that it would only make sense to take a look at the major issues of the times from a relational aspect with relation character growth. In a time where a country family value seems to be the norm of society, the racial tension forges an overall racially charged theme of seeking love. In order to fill the missing void created by injustice and abuse in the character's lives, one must seek the love, care, and preparation needed for a prosperous future. The protagonist of the story is much like a bee; Early on, Lily lives a very secret but complicated life in which she feels completely abandoned, even living with her father. She is a widowed 14 year old Caucasian female who lives on a farm with her father in the heavily segregated state of South Carolina. Her conscience is affect tremendously by the thought that she killed her mother at four years old. The film shows her pursuit in search for the actual truth about the details regarding the involuntary manslaughter of her mother, and whether or not she was truly loved by anyone. The movie shows snapshots of the domestic violence that T. Ray, Lily's father abused his wife and her mother, Deborah; the scene features shouting and shows the gun falling and Lily's small hand reaching for then gun, followed by the fatal gunshot. Shortly after Deborah's death, it is discovered that the Father-Daughter duo hired a "Negro" (Movie) nanny; this sets the environment of racial tension for the movie. Lily's nanny is named Rosaleen and has seemed to be the only one caring for Lily as her father only treats her with abuse. The only source of love was coming from her nanny who ironically was going through her own civil rights battles on a daily basis. Even though America was making steps to unify the nation as a whole, most Blacks in situations like Rosaleen never felt protected from the racists who only considered laws to be "just a piece of paper" (The Secret Life of Bees). This impacts Lily tremendously as she is recognizing that world can be a cruel place, and is only a glimpse into the love that she has for Rosaleen. Lily was excited and happy to hear that Rosaleen was going register to vote for President Lyndon Baines Johnson, who was most often referred to by the public as LBJ to distinguish him from Andrew Johnson, the Nation's 17th president (whitehouse.gov). Lily and Rosaleen's relationship is pivotal in determining what type of person Lily is, because it shows that she has feelings. She and Lily share a moment of love as she has prepared a birthday cake for Lily. Rosaleen sees Lily as a growing woman and take her in town to buy her a proper bra. A true test of the character of Lily is her reactions to problems when they present themselves. On their way into town, they were approached and harassed by three white men. Lily was held down by 2 men and had to watch as Rosaleen was beaten senseless because she chose to pour tobacco chew on his shoes for his verbal, soon to be physical harassment. Lily was held down by the other 2 men and had to watch as Rosaleen was beaten senseless and sent off to jail. Even though Lily's was not physically hurt, her psyche was heavily damaged at this point because she finds out from her father that Rosaleen could possibly killed by the men she that she offended, negating the fact that the men targeted her. When they arrived home at their peach farm, they got into an argument, and out of built up anger over his past perpetuated the lie that her mother was only coming back to gather her belongings and to ultimately abandon Lily. All throughout Lily's young life, the innuendo of her mother not...

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