October 18, 2011
The Secret Life of Bees
In the novel, “The Secret Life of Bees,” Sue Monk Kidd convinces the reader that people don’t have to be biologically related to be a family. Even though people may be biologically related, they may not be trustworthy or be able to meet the needs of the other family members. Whereas, people who genuinely care about us, are trustworthy and meet our needs can become like family.
The idea of family that is portrayed in this novel mainly focuses on the relationship between mother and daughter. Lily, a fourteen year old white girl runs away from her abusive father to search for the truth about her mother hoping to find out if her mother loved her and didn’t abandon her. Lily decides to go to “Tiburon, South Carolina,” (43) after looking at her mother’s “Black Mary picture” (43) and discovering it said Tiburon, South Carolina on the back. She thinks there might be something there that was important to her mother. Before she leaves she breaks her black nanny, Rosaleen out of the hospital where she is recovering from being beaten by white men. They had beaten her for dumping Red Rose snuff on one of the man’s shoes. When they arrive in Tiburon, Lily goes to a store to get something to eat. She notices the honey jars in the window and asks the store owner where she could find the person who made the honey. The store owner directs Lily to August Boatwright’s house, “Painted like Pepto-Bismol” (64).
Lily and Rosaleen are invited to stay with the Boatwright sisters. One day when Lily finds August reading a book, she’s curious about what it is. Thinking to make casual conversation, she asks August, “What are you reading about?” (131). “…but boy, was I wrong.” “It’s about a girl whose mother died when she was little,” she said. Then she looked at me in a way that made my stomach tip over. The same way it’d tipped over when she’s told me about Beatrix. “What happens to the girl?” I asked, trying...