Self-Forgiveness and Contentment in The Secret Life of Bees
Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees and Rascal Flatts "I'm Movin' On", both adequately
demonstrate learning to forgive yourself and others by moving on from the past is a very difficult but
possible task to do. Overcoming inner conflicts as well as finding a place of belonging and contentment is
a task that comes hand in hand with self-forgiveness. The Secret Life of Bees is a story of a young girl
named Lily Owens who, throughout the novel, faces immense obstacles. This novel focuses on the blurred
memory Lily has of the death of her mother. In the novel, the reader learns that Lily was only a young child
during the death of her mother and her emotionally abusive father, T. Ray, often tells her that this death
was all her fault. T. Ray implements the idea that Lily was the one to who had accidently shot her mother
with a gun which causes her to grow up living with the guilt and shame of this traumatic event that took a
very valuable life from her. As the plot intensifies, Lily and her strong-willed black caretaker, Rosaleen,
decide to escape T. Rays sadistic tendencies and abusive behavior. After deciding to run away from T. Ray,
Lily soon finds the Boatwright sisters who had a strong connection with Lily's mother before she died.
While meeting the Boatwright sisters, Lily says, "I felt like she knew what a lying, murdering, hating person
I really was. How I hated T. Ray, and the girls at school, but mostly myself for taking away my mother"
(Kidd 71). This quote shows the destructive effect of being blamed for her mother's death has on Lily. In
this quote, it is evident that Lily has been living with the burden and self-hatred for presumably having
killed her mother. She feels as if she is the one who had taken the one positive aspect of her life away.
Comparably, in "I'm Movin' On", the lyrics, "I've been burdened with blame, trapped in the past for too
long/ I've loved like I should but lived like I shouldn't / I had to lose everything to find out" (Rascal Flatts,
performer), evidently shows that the person in this song is feeling "trapped in the past" and at war with
themselves. Due to the blame this person has been forced to endure, they feel as if they have not been able
to live in the present because of their past that comes back to haunt them. This is very similar to the emotions
Lily had felt. When they say "I've loved like I should but lived like I shouldn't"(Rascal Flatts, performer),
it shows that this person is feeling as if they have not been living the life they wanted or deserved despite
showing love towards the people around them. This quote exquisitely correlates with Lily's situation. Even
though she had to endure a lot of pain and abuse, she still loved T. Ray and tried many times to show him
affection and forgiveness but in return she was given nothing but an unfulfilled and miserable life. When
they sing "I had to lose everything to find out" (Rascal...