The Quest Pattern theory states that during adolescence a youth is looking for their identity. This individual will look for a place where they are accepted. The quest fits a loose pattern; the first step is determined by fate, destiney provides a troubling situation before the individual can embark on their journey. Then the initial change happens, or the event that sets the quest in motion. Next is the unchartered territory, in this stage the real adventure happens; a person can geographically venture into new territory, or an experience an emotional journey somewhere outside of their comfort zone. Next, is the required learned knowledge; this is the information that the individual learns about his or her self in order to reach self-acceptance. There is the journey home, which is a quest within itself, but also a stage where more knowledge is gained. Lastly the reward, it is the 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 present, and find a reward during this journey. While Lily’s quest isn’t easy, she finds that “…nobody is perfect. [And] How you just have to close your eyes and breathe out and let the puzzle of the human heart be what it is.” (Kidd 285). To prove that she is coming of age, she follows the pattern, and manages to with a strong will, and a maturity that is generally unknown to others her age.
Lily faces some intense situations that set her adventure in motion. In order to start her journey, she has to overcome these situations and prosper. Lily has to deal with T-Ray’s verbal and physical abuse, as well as the racist towns’ people.
T-Ray is Lily’s negligent father who shows “kindness … only for Snout, his bird dog…” (3). He refuses to tell Lily about her mother and gets angry when she asks. Lily says,
“T-Ray had slapped me lots of times before, clean, sharp smacks on the cheek, the kind that cause you to draw a quick, stunned breath, but this was something else, not a slap at all. This time he’d hit me full force… For all I knew he might kill her. [Lily, who T-Ray has confused with Deborah, Lily’s mother.]”. (294)
T-Ray is not only physically abusive, but verbally as well. Throughout the novel he calls Lily many inappropriate names, and tells her that she is no better than a common tramp.
Not only does T-Ray treat Lily badly, but the local men treat Lily and Rosaleen just as bad, if not worse, while they’re in town. After stopping at the church to rest and cool down a bit, Rosaleen and Lily are kicked out by the white pastor, because Rosaleen is of color. Lily soon realizes “She was not supposed to be in here.” (30)....