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Free Study Guide for The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

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FREE ONLINE NOTES / CHAPTER SUMMARY: THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES


CHAPTER SUMMARIES AND NOTES


CHAPTER 2


Summary


The men meet Rosaleen and Lily at the police station. In front of the police officer, the men beat Rosaleen again. T. Ray comes for Lily and races home. Lily insists that he do something to get Rosaleen out of jail. He says there is nothing he can do and he would not be surprised if one of the men Rosaleen spit on kills her. When they return home T. Ray tells Lily to sit in her room and think about what she did. She tells him that he does not scare her and tells him to try to hit her. T. Ray swings and misses. When Lily says that her mother would not have let T. Ray hit her, he tells her that Deborah never cared about her and that she was leaving both of them the day she died. Lily tells T. Ray that she hates him. T. Ray leaves and Lily is devastated by the possibility that her mother was going to leave her. Lily decides she must run away and she must also free Rosaleen.

On the way to the jail Brother Gerald sees Lily and gives her a ride, since they are both going to the jail. The police want Brother Gerald to press charges against Rosaleen because she stole fans from church. Lily tells Brother Gerald that Rosaleen is deaf in one ear and misheard him. She also tells him that Rosaleen poured snuff juice on the men’s shoes because they were cursing the Lord. At the jail, Brother Gerald tells the officer that he cannot press charges and Lily learns that Rosaleen has been taken to the hospital.


Lily sneaks into the hospital and manages to trick the guard into going back to the jail by pretending she is the jailer’s wife on the phone. Lily and Rosaleen escape and hitch a ride toward Tiburon from a truck driver.

That night Lily tells Rosaleen that she wants to go to Tiburon because her mother wrote the name of the town on the back of a picture of a Black Virgin Mary. Rosaleen is hurt that Lily did not come to the hospital just to save her, but because she had already run away. Lily goes to the other side of the creek and falls asleep. Later that night Lily finds Rosaleen bathing in the stream and joins her. They apologize to one another.


Notes


The epigraph in this chapter discusses how, when leaving the old nest, bees search for somewhere new to begin again. In this chapter, Lily has decided to leave her “nest” and find a new place to settle. Chapter Two develops the relationship between Lily and Rosaleen. Their relationship is primarily that of a mother and daughter; while they are of different races, this does not seem to affect their interaction frequently.

This novel will explore some Christian religious symbolism, primarily the Virgin Mary. However in this chapter the reader should be aware of the symbolic gesture of Lily and Rosaleen in the stream. Christian baptism marks the beginning of a new life for the initiate; his or her old life is washed away in the water. The reconciliation between Rosaleen and Lily in the water marks the beginning of their new life together. If any sense of hierarchy existed previously between the two (Lily as white and, therefore superior to the black Rosaleen) it will dissolve following this bath.

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