Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life Of Bees: The Nature Of Grief

2169 words - 9 pages

Grief leaves an imprint on those who experience it. Some can survive its deep sorrow, others cannot. In The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd, she explores the effect of grief on the main characters. The novel opens with fourteen-year-old Lily Owns struggling with the knowledge that her mother was dead because she, as an infant, picked up a loaded gun and accidentally shot her. She runs away from her abusive father in search for answers of who her mother was. Lily hitchhikes to Tiburon, South Carolina; the location written on the back of an image of the Black Madonna – one of the only belongings she has of her mother’s. There, she finds a pink house inhabited by the Boatwright sisters who are African American women making Black Madonna honey. The Boatwright sisters have had their share of grief with the death of two of their sisters and the racial intolerance they face despite the passage of the Civil Rights Act. The Boatwright sisters and Lily Owens have different methods of coping with grief; internalizing, ignoring, and forgetting are some of the ways they cope, with varying degrees of success. They discover that they must live past their grief, or else it will tear them apart.
August is the eldest Boatwright sister, and she is the most successful at dealing with grief. She experienced the suicides of two sisters, but she managed to retain her optimism and perspective, unlike June or May. One way August relinquishes grief is through religion. She is the leader of a group called the Daughters of Mary – a group of African-American women who worship Our Lady of Chains. August “manifests the Madonna’s wisdom and protection, balancing out June’s excessive intellectual qualities and May’s excessive emotional qualities” (Miline 233). Her ability to be calm and strong under any circumstance is remarkable and admirable. August understands that grief is just another aspect of life: the pain it causes is balanced by the joy of other moments. She copes with grief by helping others through their trials. August believes one must get themselves “on solid ground, get [their] heart bolstered up…[and] know when to prod and when to be quiet, when to let things take their course” (Kidd 236). No matter how depressed she is feeling, August will forget her own pain if it means helping another with their sorrow. Grief has played a large role in her life, but August has always remained true to herself, and put other’s needs above her own. She does not let grief take the joy out of her life like June does, nor does she let it destroy her life like May did. August does not expect perfection and accepts the sorrow inherent in life as wall as the joy. She understands that grief is inherent in life, so she learns to accept it and move on from it. She allows herself time to grieve, but also knows that grieving will not solve anything. There is a time to forget, but do not let that time take away from what is truly important: faith, friendship, and...

Find Another Essay On Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees: The Nature of Grief

"The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd

852 words - 3 pages debut novel. In The Secret Life of Bees, a female coming-of-age story set in the Post-Civil Rights Act South, Kidd demonstrates that growing up female is just as (if not more) difficult as growing up male due to the separate viewpoint and set of experiences that are singularly feminine.The bond between a mother and a daughter can be very strong, and some would argue stronger than any other relationship due to the maternal connection shared between

"The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd

1372 words - 5 pages In The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd makes this evident through her protagonist, Lily Owens. Lily grows up in South Carolina during the 1960s, a time known for mass prejudice and the Civil Rights Movement. After the death of her mother, Lily is raised by her father T. Ray, and caretaker Rosaleen. Lily becomes drawn to Rosaleen and later decides to run away from home in an attempt to find truth and meaning about her mother. While on her

Bees That Teach a Lesson in The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

1006 words - 5 pages “Lets imagine for a moment that we are tiny enough to follow a bee into a hive. Usually the first thing we would have to ge used to is the darkness”(Kidd 82). The bee is an insect that spends all day working: working to create a home, working to spread pollen and working to create honey. A bee's life and the society of bees can be closely related to the life of humans. In the novel The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, the author conveys

The Impact of Racism in Sue Monk Kidds' The Secret Life of Bees

1051 words - 5 pages In Sue Monk Kidds The Secret Life of Bees, the main character runs away from home, to get away from her father. Her mother died when she was little and she was told she had a part of her death. She finds a picture of her mother and a town name is mentioned on the back of it. This is where she runs off to to find more about her mother. Lily the main character realizes that racism has a big impact in her life through the relationships with

Forgiveness in Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, and The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

1321 words - 6 pages , during the early 1980’s. In The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, Lily was a fourteen-year-old girl who grew up in the 1960’s, a time when racial equality was a struggle. She had an intense desire to learn about her deceased mother. Her nanny, Rosaleen, with whom she grew very close over the years, raised Lily with little help from her abusive father. When her father failed to help Rosaleen after three white men hospitalized her, Lily was

Love from Mother Figures in The "Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd and Romeo and Juliet

1019 words - 4 pages In literature, young characters need mother figures to rely on to achieve their love needs. If they were ever separated from their mothers, characters would need to search for love somewhere else. In the novel, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, Lily loses her mother at a young age, and as a result, she looks to the Boatwright sisters for love and support. Similarly, in William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, Lady Capulet is not

A Metaphysical Comparison between "The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd and "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" by James Joyce

1543 words - 6 pages The Development of the ArtistArtists come in many forms, shapes, and sizes, but all artists start out as children. It is often through experiences acquired while growing up that one has topics and inspiration for creating later in life. Lily Owens, the protagonist of The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, and Stephen Dedalus, the protagonist of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce, are similar characters destined to

The Secret Life of Bees

838 words - 3 pages Jay Riches11 EnglishWord Count: 822The Secret Life of Bees EssaySue Monk Kidd uses many techniques to shape character and explore themes in The Secret Life of Bees. The theme and characters in the novel illustrate the distinct change of character throughout the text, the change of personalities and the development of new information in characters, past and future. Sue Monk Kidd uses techniques such as use of narrative point of view to shape

The Secret Life of Bees

975 words - 4 pages 'The Secret Life of Bees" author Sue Monk Kidd portrays themes, symbols, motifs, and characterization to demonstrate that everyone regardless of circumstance or color, deserves a relationship in order to grow and evolve.A relationship that took time to evolve in the novel was the relationship between Lily and August. "I grew so quiet how could I be mad at her? I had done the same thing. Held back what I knew and my reasons were not the least bit

The Secret Life of Bees

813 words - 4 pages The Secret Life of Bees begins in the town of Sylvan, South Carolina and tells the story of 14-year-old Lily Melissa Owens. She lives on a peach orchard with her neglectful and abusive father, T. Ray. They have Black maid named Rosaleen who is a companion and caretaker of Lily. The book opens with Lily's discovery of bees in her bedroom and the story of how she killed her mother. The eve before her birthday Lily sneaks out into the peach orchard

The Secret life of Bees analytical essay

753 words - 4 pages In The Secret Life of Bees, author Sue Monk Kidd, portrays the transformation of Lily Owens from a child burdened with the guilt of her mother's death to a strong and confident young woman, as a result of living with May, Rosaleen, and August. Lily, burdened with the guilt of her mother's death becomes terrified of her father, T. Ray. August and May guide Lily’s growth to a life of faith and devotion while Rosaleen remains as Lily’s constant

Similar Essays

Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life Of Bees

1560 words - 7 pages Mark Twain, a great American author, once said, “Write what you know.” Sue Monk Kidd’s novel The Secret Life of Bees is a prime example of Mark Twain’s quote. As many great authors do, she found ways to channel herself and her many childhood memories into her writing. She tells readers of her many odd habits—ranging from curling hair in juice cans to listening to bees at night—through the eyes of the main character, Lily. Lily’s many ambitions

The Secret Life Of Bees By Sue Monk Kidd

1107 words - 4 pages 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

Essay "The Secret Life Of Bees"By Sue Monk Kidd

907 words - 4 pages “The Secret Life of Bees” By Sue Monk Kidd In the novel, “The Secret Life of Bees” by Sue Monk Kidd, the story reflects the time when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was approved. Tension is rising in the southern states of the United States where most of the people there are against this bill. One of these states is South Carolina where the story takes place. It

The Secret Life Of Bees By Sue Monk Kidd

1451 words - 6 pages happiness that occurs from the knowledge that the individual has gained; this stage is also known as finding the meaning of life. The Quest Pattern is a journey of personal evolution that every antagonist can relate to. According to the Quest Pattern, Lily, the antagonist in Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, comes of age quite elegantly. She has to face some harsh situations that set her journey in motion, acquire knowledge about her past and