Great Expectations And The Secret Life Of Bees: Similar Themes

Great Essays
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

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Dubose. Jem demand Scout did not like Mrs. Dubose because of her behavior. She would say things like “A lovelier lady than your mother never lived, and it was heartbreaking the way Atticus Finch let her children run wild” and “Your father's no better than the niggers and trash he works for”. Which led to Jem ruining Mrs. Dubose's bushes. On page 138 Atticus says “ son, I have no doubt that you've been annoyed by your contemporaries about me lawing for niggers, as you say, but to do something like this is to a sick old lady is inexcusable.…

    • 994 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Gilbert, himself, lifted small children up to see her and was afraid to introduce her to his new friend, Becky. Bonnie saw the people gawk and giggle at her when she was at the police station, she knew what they thought of her, it had already contributed to her depression. So, what difference did it make if she was a joke in death if the town would always remember her legacy as the beauty queen turned circus act either way? The answer is in her children; it was for them. They had already lived their lives in embarrassment and with more responsibility than they could handle, and would not have been able to watch their beloved mother be lifted out of the house in front of a crowd with cameras and grinning faces.…

    • 1149 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    Scout and Jem didn’t know what Atticus saw in her until they were older, and they hate every time they have to walk by her house. “Jem and I hated her. If she was on the porch when we passed, we would be raked by her wrathful gaze, subjected to ruthless interrogation regarding our behavior, and given a melancholy prediction of what we would amount to when we grew up, which was always nothing.” One time when Scout and Jem walk by her house Mrs. Dubose is calling Atticus no better then negroes and trash. Jem finally has enough and chops up all of her flowers and bushes. For his punishment, Mrs. Dubose makes him come everyday after school and read to her for a few hours.…

    • 1362 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    A person that is unable to forgive is one that will remain eternally unhappy because they are always focused on the negative aspects of life. In The Secret Life of Bees, Lily is ends up forgiving her mother, herself, and her father by the end of the novel. Since Lily has spent the entirety of her life romanticizing her mother, when she finds out her own mother abandoned her, Lily doesn’t take it lightly. Lily cannot grasp the idea that her mother had a nervous breakdown and needed to take care of herself. Instead, she only hears that her mother left her for her own selfish reasons.…

    • 2043 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    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.…

    • 1245 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Alexandra ploys to make Scout more ' Lady like ' and berating Scout for not wanting to wear dresses makes Scout grow to dislike her Aunt. While Atticus worked on the Tom Robinson case Alexandra comes to Maycomb to live with Scout and Jem to provide a 'feminine influence '. Aunt Alexandra, along with the rest of the Finch Household does not approve of Atticus defending a Tom Robinson, a black man. As the Tom Robinson case goes on Alexandra sees how passionate Atticus is about giving Tom a fair trial . When Tom Robinson is found guilty Alexandra notices the effects of racism and how much it bothers her nephew.…

    • 1168 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Also, the kids at school are making fun of Jem and Scout because of Atticus’s case, and likewise, Atticus will not teach the kids how to shoot their new rifles. Luckily, Uncle Jack teaches them. Atticus reminds Jem that it is okay to kill a blue jay, but it is a sin to kill a mockingbird because mockingbirds do not do anything to humans but only make joyful music. The next day, Scout complains how her neighborhood is full of old people to Miss Maudie. When I read that, I thought that that was very rude because she is insulting her older, much wiser neighbor, Miss Maudie.…

    • 1180 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    He tells himself to keep his cool, but the two mulattoes would not stop—which leads to a brawl between Grant and the tall mulatto. Grant condemns the racism that prevails and for this reason, he gets into a huge scuffle. On the other hand, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a novel filled with rebellious acts. McMurphy performs an example of one after Nurse Ratched finds out that Billy Bibbit loses his virginity. She tells him that she is worried how his mom will react to the news, but Billy begs Nurse Ratched not to tell her.…

    • 785 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Scout blamed Walter for her getting in trouble so decided to beat him up during recess. When Atticus Finch got her in trouble for what she did, she soon realized that wasn’t the right thing to do. Another way maturity is shown in this novel is when Robert Ewell was angry about the way Atticus made him look on the stands, so on his way to the post office Bob Ewell spat in Atticus’ face. Bob told Atticus he would get him if it took him the rest of his life. “When a man says he’s gonna get you, looks like he means it” (292).…

    • 917 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    When Stella-Rhonda makes an unintended exclamation, Sister asks her if she is “mortally wounded” (Welty, n.p). Sarcasm adds to the humor when Sister thanks Uncle Rhondo for “the cot and the peace” yet it is him who had firecrackers exploding in her room at daw. It is comical how Sister collects all her supposed belongings from the house, including ferns, a radio which she would sue for, and a charm bracelet. In a way, Sister is petty and takes little things too seriously. Papa-Daddy claims he is too smart for Sister because won’t set foot in the Post Office lest she reaches “out of that little old window with a pair of shears and cuts off any beard of mine” (Welty n.p).…

    • 910 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays