Free Study Guide for The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd|
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One night while Lily and Rosaleen lie in their beds, Rosaleen expresses her jealously at the time Lily is spending with August. Lily tells Rosaleen that she is hoping that August will know something about her mother. Lily asks Rosaleen if she thinks it is possible that T. Ray was telling the truth when he said Deborah left her. Rosaleen says she does not know; she only hopes that Lily does not get hurt. That night, Lily goes to May’s wall and places a paper inside it that reads “Deborah Owens.”
The epigraph of the chapter tells us to imagine that we are small enough to follow a bee into its hive. Thus, the theme of this chapter is Lily’s entrance into the Boatwright household. Lily learns the routine of the Boatwright sisters as well as the work required to make Black Madonna Honey. As Lily settles in, she becomes closer to August and wishes August would allow her to stay forever.
In Chapter Five, Kidd offers an interesting perspective on racism. Lily experiences prejudice based on skin color for the first time in her life. While June’s dislike of Lily is nothing compared with the racial hatred Rosaleen experiences earlier, it makes Lily realize how absurd it is to dislike someone for such an arbitrary reason. This moment of realization helps develop the theme of racism as senseless.
Rosaleen’s jealously is an important characterization. This emotion complicates Rosaleen, who so far has been portrayed primarily as a tough, simple woman. When Rosaleen expresses her emotions, the reader is reminded of the mother-daughter relationship she shares with Lily. Rosaleen feels threatened by Lily’s relationship with August.
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. 09 May 2017