Free Study Guide for The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd|
Downloadable / Printable Version
Sue Monk Kidd was born and raised in Sylvester, Georgia, on a plot of land settled by her great-grandparents some 200 years ago. While Sue had always wanted to be a writer, she decided to become a nurse because of the cultural climate of the 1960s, as well as her own fears of failure. Sue went to Texas Christian University (TCU), where she received a Nursing degree in 1970. She worked as a registered nurse throughout her twenties. She married Sanford (Sandy) Kidd and had two children, Bob and Ann.
At thirty-years old Sue became a freelance writer, working on non-fiction pieces about her life experiences. Sue began writing about Christian spirituality and then, in her early forties, feminist theology.
Sue’s early desire to write fiction returned and she enrolled in a graduate writing seminar and visited writers’ conferences. In 1997 she began her first novel, The Secret Life of Bees followed by her second novel, The Mermaid Chair.
has sold over four million copies to date and spent over two years on the New York Times bestsellers list.
Sue has stated that she drew inspiration from the honeybees that lived in a wall of her house in Georgia while she was growing up. She remembers the humming sound of the bees and the honey that seeped out of the wall. She said that she imagined a young girl lying in bed with bees sifting through the cracks in the wall and the thoughts that may have surrounded her life. That personal experience provided a background for the novel. Though she doesn't believe that any of the characters are drawn specifically from her own life, she did draw from details and recollections of her adolescence for the actions and mannerisms of many of the characters.
Sue Monk Kidd lives near Charleston, South Carolina today and continues
Her published works include:
God's Joyful Surprise: Finding Yourself Loved (1987)
All Things Are Possible (1988)
Love's Hidden Blessings: God Can Touch Your Life When You Least Expect It (1990)
When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life's Sacred Questions (1990)
The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman's Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine (2002)
A Luminous Presence: One Woman's Awakening to the Inner Life (2005)
The Secret Life of Bees (2002)
The Mermaid Chair (2005)
This novel is set against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement in the particularly tumultuous summer of 1964. The movement for civil rights, though always important, came to a political head during this period in American history. At this time, the rights of minorities were called into question with regard to "equal rights" under the U.S. Constitution.
Many groups of minorities in America, especially blacks (African-Americans) believed that they had been denied the basic human rights provided for other American citizens (namely white people) under the U.S. Constitution through the terrible bonds of slavery and racism that existed for so many years during and after the formation of this country. When President John F. Kennedy was assasinated in 1963, many civil rights activists were concerned that the important work he had initiated for American minorities would not be continued in the federal government and would be lost with the end of his presidency. However they were pleasantly surprised when upon his first address to Congress on November 27, 1963, the new President, Lyndon Baines Johnson urged for the passage of a civil rights bill that would continue the progress made under President Kennedy.
The original purpose of the congressional bill, which ultimately became law as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, was to provide protection for black men from discrimination based upon race. However at the last minute, in an attemp Freekill the bill, it was expanded to protect women from discrimination as well. Under this act, the infamous "Jim Crow" laws were legally abolished and racial segregation was declared abolished.
The Civil Rights Act passed and became law, however, as illustrated
in the story, many whites were angered by the Civil Rights Act and continued
to treat African Americans cruelly and racial tensions continued, despite
the action and progress addressed in the new laws. Racism still persists
as a bold part of American society, despite political movements and social
All Content Copyright©TheBestNotes. All Rights Reserved.
No further distribution without written consent.
297 Users Online | This page has been viewed 4643 times
This page was last updated on 5/9/2017 8:50:54 AM
Cite this page:
TheBestNotes.com Staff. "TheBestNotes on The Secret Life of Bees".
. 09 May 2017