Symbolism In The Secret Life Of Bees

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Sue Monk Kidd adopts many themes and uses many symbols throughout the book "The
Secret Life of Bees." The book takes place in the 1960 's. During this time, the fight for Civil Rights was taking place, so racism played a role in the book. The main themes that developed were female power, prejudice, and forgiveness. The main symbols used were the bees, the black Mary, and the whale pin along with the photograph.
During this time period, women did not have a say in much at all. Female power was unfamiliar to Lily, the main character, in the beginning of the book. She was beaten and abused by her father T. Ray, but never once defended herself. She would sit and take it because she did not know what else she could do. Growing up without a mother
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In the book, the hospital Lily gets Rosaleen out of is segregated into wings based on color. Police arrest colored people even when they are not in the wrong. She even treats Rosaleen poorly when she says, “Well, you are dumb! I yelled. You have to be dumb to pour your snuff juice on those men 's shoes like that. And then dumber not to say you 're sorry, if saying it will save your life. They were gonna come back and kill you, or worse. I got you out of there, and this is how you thank me. Well, fine.” (Kidd). She was very rude to Rosaleen even though she was older, but since she was black, Lily did not think twice about disrespecting her. Lily 's opinion towards the colored changes completely when she meets the Boatright sisters. She comes to understand that prejudice is very wrong. Lily learns that there is more to the colored folks than just their color. Her friendship with the Boatright sisters grows and Lily even works on their bee farm. She defies society 's ways and falls in love with a colored man. As time goes by, she is more and more supportive of Rosaleen and her intention to register to vote. Lily is called a nigger lover, but she accepts their words with pride because she knows the color of skin does not define who they are. Prejudice taught Lily an important lesson about discovering things herself before judging …show more content…
The wooden structure was found among her mother 's things. The black Mary eventually leads her to the Boatright sisters because Lily finds her mothers ' same Black Mary on their honey bee jars. The structure gives her comfort. “How a little door in the black Mary statue would open up, just over her abdomen, and I would crawl inside to a hidden room.” (Kidd). Lily is referring to a dream and is meaning that the black Mary is her comforter. Along with comfort, it brought Lily hope of finding out the truth. The bees first appear in the beginning of the book. Lily claims there are bees in her room and she catches them in a jar to prove it. The bees secretly guide Lily throughout the book. T. Ray cannot see these bees, but one day the bees she caught in the jar fly away. She realized, she too had to leave, and since her father could not see the bees, he would assume she ran away from him. The bees continue to guide her and lead her all the way to the Boatright sisters. The bee 's life teaches her about human life. She is told that the bees have a secret life hence the name of the book. "Most people don 't have any idea about all the complicated life going on inside a hive. Bees have a secret life we don 't know anything about." (Kidd). The bees do so much and have to in order to keep all of the other bees alive. "She went through the whole thing. The nest builders were the group that drew the comb... Field bees were the ones with good

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