Free Study Guide for The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd|
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Lily is devastated to learn that her mother did not bring her to August’s house when she left the farm. When Deborah arrived at the pink house, it was apparent that she was in very bad shape. A doctor came to see her and suggested they place her in a mental institution. August says that she later realized Deborah had a nervous breakdown. When Deborah finally recovered she went back to the farm to get Lily. She even talked to Clayton about filing divorce papers. When Deborah did not return, August called Lily’s house and a neighbor told her what happened. When she is done telling what she knows about Deborah, August takes Lily to the honey house and makes sure she goes to bed.
The epigraph that begins Chapter Twelve comments that the queen never leaves the hive and if she were smarter she would probably be neurotic. She is frequently called the mother of the hive, which is ironic because she has no maternal instincts. In this chapter, Lily learns the truth about her own “queen” and mother, Deborah. Deborah, who apparently was smarter than the queen bee, grew neurotic from being confined to the farm. In her deep depression, she lost her ability to care for Lily. This information greatly disturbs Lily.
This chapter begins the resolution of Lily’s conflict, which is that
she must learn the truth about her dead mother in order to understand
who she, herself, is. This conflict will not be fully resolved until Lily
T. Ray; however, in learning about her mother Lily begins to define herself. In her conversation with August, Lily learns that the myth she has created about her mother is false. Deborah is not the extraordinary woman Lily imagined who would have saved her from her life. Now that Lily’s mother has been removed from her pedestal, she must seek new female role-models and save herself from her life.
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. 09 May 2017