Symbolism In The Secret Life Of Bees

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Sue Monk Kidd incorporates literary devices throughout her novel The Secret Life of Bees. Monk uses devices such as symbolism, character relationships, and motifs to help the reader better understand her novel and have a connection with it as well. The symbolism of the black Mary, the relationship between August and Lily, and the motif of bees are incorporated into the novel.
The first literary device used in the novel is the symbolism of the black Mary. The black Mary picture that Lily first carries around with her symbolizes her mother Deborah and a piece of her Lily has left. Lily has the picture and wants to find where it’s from to discover something about her mom. Lily eventually ends up at the Boatwright house and discovers that’s where the picture came from. When Lily sees the statue of the black Mary in the Boatwright house she describes it as “black as could be, twisted like driftwood from being out in the weather, her face a map of all the storms and journeys she’d been through. Her right arm was raised as if she was pointing the way, except her fingers were closed in a fist. It gave her a serious look, like she
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The third literary device used in the novel is the motif of bees. Bees are prominent throughout the entire novel but Lily does not realize how the life of bees are closely related to the life of humans until August tells her. August says to Lily that “Most people don’t have any idea about all the complicated life going on inside a hive. Bees have a secret life we don’t know anything about” (148). August is also explaining to Lily the nature of spirituality as it relates to beehives. August has taught Lily all about the communities bees keep inside their hives and the importance of the female power structure in the bee community. Lily’s life is secret like the bees because she is a white girl living in a house with black women, with Rosaleen who’s a runaway, and is a

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