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The Secret Life Of Bees

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Constance Register

on 24 April 2015

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Transcript of The Secret Life Of Bees

The mother/mentor
archetype is an important symbol in the novel. Kidd explores the powerful, magnetic pull of children, especially daughters, to their mothers.
Ex:
August
Deborah
Rosaleen
Black Mary
The Secret Life Of Bees
By: Sue Monk Kidd
Presenters:
Kali Davis
Madi Spearman
Adelene Garner
Constance Register

Sue Monk Kidd
Themes
Major Characters
Summary
Lily Melissa Owens is the fourteen-year-old daughter of an abusive peach farmer. This young girl carries a guilty burden: she believes she shot and killed her mother when she was only four years old. Her vague memory of that day — when her parents were arguing and she picked up and shot the gun that her mother had dropped — continues to haunt her. Lily's search for refuge and information about her mother lands her in the pink house of the bee-keeping Boatwright sisters, August, June, and May. Sue Monk Kidd's novel
The Secret Life of Bees
is a beautiful story that explores this girl's search for liberation, life, and love through friendship.
Author's Style
1st person.
Written from the point of view of Lily Owens, the main character
Southern Dialect
Kidd frequently uses figurative language
Simple and quick to read
like metaphors and similes.
The whole book is an extended metaphor.
Story Setting
1964
African American
Civil Rights movement
Tiburon, South Carolina
-Boatwright house
Bees
Sylvan, South Carolina
-Peach farm
Biography
Bees operate on many levels in this story: in her home with her father, bees represent Lily's desire to leave; the label on a honey jar leads Lily to the Boatwright sisters; and eventually tending to the bees helps to teach Lily about the complexity of life and communtiy.
“You have to find a mother inside yourself. We all do. Even if we already have a mother, we still have to find this part of ourselves inside.”
-August Boatwright
Born August 12, 1948
Influenced as a teenager by Thoreau's
Walden
and Chopin's
The Awakening
.
Graduated from Texas University in 1970 with a B.S. in nursing.
Married Sandy Kidd and had two children.
Worked as a registered nurse in Fort Worth, TX and taught nursing at the Medical College of Georgia.
In her thirties, she took writing classes at Emory University and Anderson College.
Her first books were spiritual memoirs describing her experiences in contemplative Christianity.
The Secret Life of Bees
was her first novel.
In 2004,
The Secret Life
was adapted for the stage and produced by the American Place Theater in New York City, NY.
The film version of
The Secret Life
was released by Fox Searchlight in 2008.
As August teaches Lily about bee keeping, she learns important life lessons and makes comparisons to how they are like humans.

ex. mourning
the heat = unusual acts
the hard worker bees
anger
Lily Owens
T.Ray Owens
Rosaleen Daise
August Boatwright
Zachary (Zach) Taylor
Minor Characters

June Boatwright
May Boatwright
Neil
The "Daughters" of Mary
Mothers
Symbols
protagonist and narrator
14-year-old white girl
lives in Sylvan, SC
has an abusive father, T.Ray Owens
lives with the burden of shooting her mother
runs away to find out about her deceased mother
Queenie, Violet, Cressie, Mabelee,
Sugar-Girl, Lunelle, and Otis
“Women make the best beekeepers, 'cause they have a special ability built into them to love creatures that sting. It comes from years of loving children and husbands.”
-August Boatwright
June does not get along with Lily at first

“I hadn't been out to the hives before, so to start off she gave me a lesson in what she called 'bee yard etiquette'. She reminded me that the world was really one bee yard, and the same rules work fine in both places." - Lily Wells
Plays the cello for comfort
Refuses to marry the man she loves
Should this book be taught?
She has a heart of gold
sweet, gentle and very empathic
"special"
easily upset and finds refuge at her wailing wall
has a hard time with tragedy

Symbols
Water
Lily's father
owns a peach farm in Sylvan, SC
bitter and abusive to Lily
anger derived from his wife leaving him; takes his anger out on Lily
Water is a recurring image of renewal and rebirth. When Lily and Rosaleen run away from T. Ray, they bathe in a small creek; Rosaleen and Lily get caught in the rain walking to the Boatwright house; Lily and the sisters play in the sprinkler on a hot day; and the river behind the pink house is symbolic of life and letting go.
very quiet and patient
always around ready for love
wants to marry June and gets turned down repeatedly

Owens' housekeeper and nanny
Serves as Lily's first mother figure and friend
Courageous and proud
Accompanies Lily to Tiburon, SC
Befriends May Boatwright
Catholic-inspired form of worship focused on the Virgin Mary
They support one another

Lives in Tiburon, SC with her sisters
Runs a successful honey business
Mother figure of Boatwright household
Was housekeeper to Deborah Fontanel (Lily's mother) when Deborah was alive
Her home serves as a place of refuge for Deborah and later for Lily as well.
"Now and then sprays of rain flew over and misted our faces. Every time I refused to wipe away the wetness. It made the world seem so alive to me. I couldn't help but envy the way a good storm got everyone's attention.”
-Lily Owens
The Whale Pin
young friend of the Boatwright sisters
helps them with beekeeping
dreams of becoming a lawyer
has many things in common with Lily
The whale pin that T. Ray gave to Lily's mother is symbolic of T. Ray’s complexity. T. Ray gave Deborah this pin when they were dating. Lily has
Teaches history and English
always assumed T. Ray is a mean man by nature; she never considered why he might be that way. The whale pin illustrates that, at one time, he was kind and gentle.
Time can heal all wounds.
“There is nothing perfect,” August said from the doorway. “There is only life.”
-August Boatwright
Although it takes Lily a long time to tell August the truth of why she came to the Boatwright's house, she realizes that she can trust August and she won't be judged. The time spent at the Boatwright's house and the experiences Lily gained help her realize that she is not to blame for her mothers death.
“I looked into his eyes. They were filled with strange fogginess. ‘Daddy,’ I said.”

-Lily Owens
Learn to live your life to the fullest.

Bees can be looked at as models of human society.
As Lily is on her search for happiness, she stumbles upon the realization that life is precious, and it can be gone in an instant. All of the characters grow in this area throughout the novel.
“When it's time to die, go ahead and die, and when it's time to live, live. Don't sort-of-maybe live, but live like you're going all out, like you're not afraid.”
-August Boatwright
Full transcript