The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd Essay
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Racism: Then and Now. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd is a book discussing the internal strife of a young white girl, in a very racist 1960’s south. The main character, Lily Owens, faces many problems she must overcome, including her personal dilemma of killing her own mother in an accident. Sue Monk Kidd accurately displays the irrationality of racism in the South during mid- 1960's not only by using beautiful language, but very thoroughly developed plot and character development. Kidd shows the irrationality of racism through the characters in her book, The Secret Life of Bees and shows that even during that time period, some unique people, were able to see beyond the heavy curtain of racism that separated people from each…show more content…
Lily shows her non-racist side in the very beginning of the book, after Rosaleen has been put in jail for spitting on a very racist white man’s shoe. She willingly sneaks into jail and attempts to free Rosaleen, but gets sent home with the racist and mean father, T. Ray. She once again tries to free Rosaleen, and this time sneaks into a hospital to free her. Lily is successful this time, and runs away with Rosaleen. Many quotes from the Secret Life of Bees express the views of different characters on racism. ” She was black as could be, twisted like driftwood from being out in the weather, her face a map of all the storms and journeys she’d been through. Her right arm was raised as if she was pointing the way, except her fingers were closed in a fist. It gave her a serious look, like she could straighten you out if necessary.” In this quote, Lily describes the Black Virgin Mary, the lord of the Sisters of Mary, and later learns the significance of this statue, which is to look within yourself to find your true, hidden self. When Lily has her earlier conversations with Zach, she has a slight edge of racism in her voice. When Zach tells Lily that he want to be a lawyer, she says: “I’ve just never heard of a Negro lawyer, that’s all. You’ve got to hear of these things before you can imagine them.” However, despite this fact, she supports Zach’s
ESSAY QUESTIONS - IDEAS / BOOK REPORT TOPICS
1. Who is the queen in this novel?
2. What does August mean when she tells Lily that everyone needs a god that looks like them?
3. Examine the Civil Rights Amendment of 1964. How would this Amendment have affected every-day people?
4. Do you think that racism has changed a lot since 1964? If, yes, why do you think it has changed? If, no, what do you think has to happen for it to change?
5. Why do you think Rosaleen was jealous of the time Lily spent with August? Do you think she will continue to be jealous now that they will live together permanently?
6. What do you think made T. Ray turn into a mean person?
7. Why is it more important for Lily to have a mother-figure than a father-figure?
8. Did Mays death have any positive effects for those she left behind?
9. Why is it so important to Rosaleen that she registers to vote?
10. How does this novel explore the effects of misogynism in womens lives?
The Secret Life of Bees Free BookNotes Online Book Summary