Free Study Guide for The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd|
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Deborah is Lily’s mother, who died when Lily was only four years old. Lily thinks about her mother everyday and must learn more about her in order to develop her own identity. When Lily moves in with the Boatwright sisters, she learns that he mother was not who Lily wanted her to be.
Mrs. Henry is Lily’s teacher who tells her that she is very smart. Mrs. Henry tells Lily that she is too intelligent to go to beauty school and that she could write books if she wanted to.
August is a beekeeper who lives in a bright pink house in Tiburon, SC. She is an African-American woman and sells Black Madonna Honey. She and her sisters, May and June, let Lily and Rosaleen stay with them.
May is August’s very emotional sister. May’s twin sister, April, killed herself when she was fifteen years old. Since then, May is prone to emotional break-downs and spends a lot of time at her “wailing wall.” When May finds out that Zach is in jail, she kills herself.
June is August’s other sister, who is not happy to have Lily staying in their house. June is rude to Lily until the day that Lily wets her with the sprinkler that she, May, August and Rosaleen are playing in. June finally accepts Lily, even though she is white.
Zach works for August. Zach is African American and Lily develops a crush on him, even though Zach tells her that nothing can happen between them. Zach goes to jail for a short time when he will not admit which of his friends was involved in an altercation with some white men. Eventually Zach is released and gives Lily her first kiss.
Neil loves June and asks her to marry him constantly. June always turns Neil down, until after May dies.
Queenie, Violet, Lunelle, Mabalee and Cressie
These women are all a part of the religious devotions to the Black Madonna. They are a constant presence in the Boatwright home and incorporate Lily into their community.
Otis and Sugar Girl
Otis and Sugar Girl also take part in the devotions to the Black Madonna. They are married to each other.
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. 09 May 2017