Role Of Law And Tradition In Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life Of Bees

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Law vs Tradition, though now mostly unnoticed, plays important roles in a countries development. The south during the 1960s is a example of this Law vs Tradition in America. The Civil Rights Act had been passed in 1964 which gave colored people rights such as voting. However, many white individuals in the south didn't agree with this bill that was passed, leading to a battle of what the law said, and what the people had been practicing for decades. Sue Monk Kidd captures this backlash and denial in her book, The Secret Life of Bees. The interactions her main character has with other characters, colored or white, show a deeper understanding of the treatment after the Civil Rights Act. Having a white main character, and a female at that, …show more content…
She has Rosaleen face off against a group of racists and lose, as sign that even string willed people cant do everything alone. After being insulted by a group of white men, Rosaleen spat on one of them, a sign of disrespect which leads to a fight and a police man showing up. He takes the side of the racist and states “You’re under arrest… Assault, theft, and disturbing there peace” (33). Rosaleen agreed to go with the officer because she did not want to make an even bigger scene. This situation showed how easily swayed the cops were. The officer did not even ask questions, he simply arrested her. They worst thing that happened to Rosaleen was when she got to the station. After these events, Rosaleen is finally left alone by racial bias and becomes somewhat of a minor character. Rosaleen was beaten behind the police station for not apologizing. Mr. Gaston said “Your colored woman ain’t here… I took her to the hospital for stitches. She took a bad fall and hit her head” (44). This final part showed the traditional injustice that colored people faced, even though they were protected by law and officers couldn't beat someone senseless just because they did apologize. Kidd brings in three more colored women, but this time the situations are different and they break common …show more content…
Having such a successful business as colored women was unheard of, and Kidd makes sure they are utilized to get across the message of empowerment. The sisters each have a different personality, with one unique value that shines through. The first sister August is the strong, levelheaded, and knowledgeable one, June is the fiery and passionate one, and May is the fragile and delicate one. Kidd uses these colored women to share there experiences with Lily and Rosaleen as the story progresses, and has them go through different “trials” that shape them into something new. Kidd wanted to make a strong statement with the colored women in charge of their own business, so each character is well educated and religious, but don't follow a common religion. These two distinct details go against common tradition in that time, as colored people were usually less educated than whites, and the primary religion was Christianity, while the sisters follow the group Sisters of the Virgin Mary. Something so different that didn't follow tradition was actually law, and no one could stop them. They are however careful when it comes to race mixing, as Lily learned when she eaves dropped on a conversation between August and June, which said “But she’s white, August” (87). The main character Lily is thrust into all of these

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