Great Expectations And The Secret Life Of Bees: Similar Themes

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There are many similar themes in the novels Great Expectations, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Secret Life of Bees. Great Expectations centers around a poor boy named Pip Pirrip who learns how to become a gentleman in London. To Kill a Mockingbird focuses on a young girl named Scout Finch who is learning about life and injustice in the small southern town of Maycomb. The Secret Life of Bees centers around a teenage girl named Lily Owens who searches for her identity and purpose in South Carolina. Though these novels all have different characters and plot lines, they all revolve around the same themes of children growing up without a parent, being criticized and denigrated by outside influences, and showing courage in their search for prosperity …show more content…
In Great Expectations, Pip is told by his sister, Mrs. Joe, that he is worthless and will amount to nothing. In the beginning of the book, when Pip returns from meeting the convict on the moor, he gets this scolding remark, “‘Where have you been, you young monkey?’ said Mrs. Joe, stamping her foot” (Dickens 7-8). She calls Pip names all of the time and abuses him both verbally and physically. These actions beat Pip down and make him feel worthless and invaluable. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout is told by her brother, Jem, and friend, Dill, that she is too young to play with them and that she isn’t good enough. When Scout is scared to go over to the Radley house, Jem says, “‘Scout, I’m telling you for the last time, shut your trap or go home-I declare to the Lord you’re gettin’ more like a girl every day!’” (Dickens 69). To Scout, that is not a compliment. She takes offense when Jem says that, and Jem knows it. Scout finds criticism and conflict everywhere she turns, and that only makes her feistier. In The Secret Life of Bees, Lily is also a victim of abuse. Her dad is nowhere near supportive. For example, T. Ray makes a demeaning comment every time Lily tries to read a book: “Whenever I opened one, T. Ray said, ‘Who do you think you are, Julius Shakespeare?’ The man sincerely thought that was Shakespeare’s first name, and if you think I should have corrected him, you are ignorant about the art of survival. He also referred to me as Miss Brown-Nose-in-a-Book and occasionally, as Miss Emily-Big-Head-Diction” (Kidd 16). Lily never gets a compliment in this atmosphere. In all three of these books, the main characters are beat down by the criticism and disapproval of others, often their own

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