The Secret Life of Bees

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The Secret Life of Bees

By Sue Monk Kidd

Biography of Sue Monk Kidd

Sue Monk Kidd grew up in Sylvester, Georgia and attended Texas Christian University. She besides took originative authorship classs at Emory University and Anderson College and studied at several writers’ conferences. Monk was a author before she wroteThe Secret Life of Bees, but did non get down composing fiction until she was in her mid-fortiess.The Secret Life of Beeswas published in 2002 and is her first novel. It spent over two and one-half old ages on theNew York Times“Best Sellers List.” It sold over six million transcripts in the United States and eight million transcripts worldwide. It was besides named theBook Sensepaper-back book book of the twelvemonth in 2004.The Secret Life of Beeshas been made into a drama and in 2008 it was made into a film. It won the People’s Choice award for best film and an NAACP Image award for best image ( Kidd, Sue Monk Kidd ) .

The Concept of Forgiveness

InThe Secret Life of Bees, the chief character, Lily, releases between desiring forgiveness from her female parent because he father tells her she is responsible for her mother’s decease, and necessitating to forgive her female parent, Deborah, for abandoning her after she finds out the truth about her decease. Before she learns the truth, she dreams of deceasing and seeing her female parent in Eden where she would inquire for forgiveness for killing her. She is certain that her female parent will forgive her. When she learns the truth, nevertheless, she is non as willing to forgive her female parent for non being strong and for go forthing her with T. Ray, Lily’s male parent. Partss of Lily’s feelings have to make with her ain feelings of guilt for her duty on Deborah’s decease, or what she thinks is her duty. Her inability to forgive herself is besides portion of the subject of forgiveness.

Other facets of forgiveness occur in the novel excessively. For case, August tells Lily the whole narrative of her female parent, including the fact that Deborah was pregnant with Lily when she married T. Ray. This gives Lily an wholly new ground to experience guilty as if it was her mistake for being conceived. Yet, larning about her female parent helps her to forgive her female parent for abandoning her, something her female parent could non assist any more than Lily could assist being conceived out of marriage. Her penetration and ability to sympathise with her female parent makes her inquiry why it is so hard for people to forgive each other and themselves.

There is still one other individual that Lily must forgive and that is T. Ray. By the terminal of the novel she realizes that he is an unhappy individual, who loved his married woman and misses her even if he was non good to her as he should hold been. Lily realizes that he blames himself for Deborah’s decease merely as she does and that he blames himself for his household abandoning him. She realizes T. Ray needs her forgiveness and his ain merely as she did.

The Black Madonna

The Black Madonna can be interpreted in a position different ways. One is that it represents Rosaleen, an African American nursemaid who has raised Lily since her female parent died. The Madonna is the ultimate symbol of maternity, and even though Rosaleen and Lily are rather different, Rosaleen has served as Lily’s female parent. At the beginning of the novel, Lily has learned to be racist and believes that all African Americans are like Rosaleen, uneducated and merely suit to function white Americans. However, when she realizes how strong Rosaleen is by seeing her bravery in trying to vote even though she knows what the consequences will be, Lily understands how prejudiced she has been in her thought. She becomes even less racist after run intoing the Boatwrights and when she starts holding feelings for Zach.

In this narrative, the Black Madonna represents the adult females, Rosaleen in peculiar, who fill in for Lily’s female parent. Adolescence is likely the clip of life when misss need a female parent the most, and this group of African American adult females Lily brushs at the Boatwrights fill in for her female parent in the best manner possible. August is intelligent and loving, and they all accept Lily despite her attitude sometimes. They teach her to be a better individual and they teach her about the bond of muliebrity that they all portion. From them Lily learns to forgive, which 1 could state is associated with the Madonna since she was Jesus’ female parent and he is the prototype of forgiveness.

If the Madonna had been white the racial deductions would non hold been as strong. While the narrative is about Lily and her approach of age, it is besides approximately racism in the South during the Civil Right Era. Early in Chapter 4 it says, “She was black as could be, twisted like driftwood from being out in the conditions, her face a map of all the storms and journeys she’d been through. Her right arm was raised as if she was indicating the manner, except her fingers were closed in a fist. It gave her a serious expression, like she could unbend you out if necessary” ( Kidd, pg. 72 ) .The Madonna symbolizes maternity, muliebrity and forgiveness. The Black Madonna symbolizes all those things and the unreason of racism.

The Wailing Wall

The Wailing Wall is a topographic point to mourn. May uses it to mourn the loss of her twin sister, April, who committed self-destruction. Lily uses it to mourn her female parent. The existent Wailing Wall in Jerusalem is besides used for mourning the calamities of Judaic history. A individual can compose a supplication on a faux pas of paper and set it into a niche in the wall. The belief is that the supplication will make God’s ears because it is in this holy topographic point. The Howling Wall inThe Secret Life of Beeshas basically the same map. May writes all of her ideas down and steal them into the wall, and finally, Lily does excessively. The people who use it as a topographic point to mourn or pray believe that it is a sacred topographic point and that they have God’s ear when they are in it. Possibly in the context of the novel, they do, for it is at that place that Lily learns to forgive herself and the tests of the other characters are soothed.

At the terminal of the novel, Lily describes May’s Wailing Wall like the one in Jerusalem is frequently described. She says, “I am the wall keeper now. I keep it fed with supplications and fresh stones. I/wouldn’t be surprised if May’s howling wall outlasted us all. At the terminal of clip, when all the world’s edifices have crumbled off, there it will be” ( Kidd, pg. 311-312 ) . The Howling Wall in Jerusalem is really the wall of a temple that was destroyed, but Judaic people believe that finally the temple will be restored and the Wailing Wall’s supplications will be answered.

The Title

The rubric of the book for adult females in the South has to make with several things. One thing is gender. Bees are one-half of the birds and bees analogy that refers to sex. Another thing is that bees are adult females or drones ( non-sexed ) . Their diligence symbolizes the work adult females do and their ability to keep a community. One could state the bees are particularly representative of black adult females in the South, whichThe Secret Life of Beesclaims besides, but it goes beyond that to state that all adult females are a portion of a community. Work force can non understand this community, but adult females need it to last merely like bees need their urtications. Bees produce honey from nectar, which is like adult females who traditionally cook and attention for the household and besides keep the household together much like the Queen Bee does.


Kidd, Sue Monk. “ Sue Monk Kidd. ” 2015.Sue Monk Kidd.Web. 5 March 2015. & A ; lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // & A ; gt ; .

— .The Secret Life of Bees. New York: Penguin, 2002. E-Book.