The Secret Life of Bees' Essay

Topics: Racism, African American, Racial segregation Pages: 2 (546 words) Published: September 27, 2010
In Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, August acts as the unorthodox religious leader of the Daughters of Mary and contributes to Lily’s character and growth. August proves to be a leader, and a positive influence towards Lily in every action she performs. She welcomes Lily, a white girl, into her house during the 1960s, a time when racial segregation was prominent. By doing so, August goes against the popular social views, and jeopardizes her reputation for Lily. August teaches Lily many life lessons such as love, hope, and the importance of religion. Because of August, Lily becomes stronger, and more aware of the society in which she lives in. August’s religious leadership is demonstrated throughout the novel because of her courageous character. Back in Sylvan, Lily was exposed to racism and segregation even in her church. A church is built on universal values that are above prejudice and discrimination, yet Brother Gerald rejects this fundamental principle. When Rosaleen entered Lily’s church, Brother Gerald was astonished and indirectly scolded Lily for allowing Rosaleen to come in. Even when Rosaleen asked to borrow a fan due to the incredibly hot weather, Brother Gerald refused to give her one solely she was black. On the other hand, when Lily showed up at August’s front door, she was welcomed to stay. August, an African American, greeted Lily as if she was family, even though she was a complete stranger. August paid no attention to the fact that Lily was white, but instead followed her religious principles that were built upon the idea of helping others and being fair to all human beings. Even though August practices an unconventional religion, she exhibits positive behavior that God would find acceptable, unlike Brother Gerald who practices an established religion but performs acts of unfairness and inequality. August is a true leader because she goes against the immoral and unethical practices of her society, and welcomes Lily...
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