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

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After August leaves, Lily cries and cries. In a fit of rage Lily begins throwing things, including jars of honey. Lily is shaken awake by Rosaleen the next morning. Rosaleen fixes up Lilyís cuts and asks what drove her to such anger. Lily recounts the story August told her. Rosaleen had some idea that Deborah had left because she overheard T. Ray talking to their neighbor on the phone. Lily asks why Rosaleen did not tell her this sooner. Rosaleen says she did not want to hurt her. Rosaleen helps Lily clean the honey house.

As the Daughters arrive, Lily asks August to tell Zach the truth about why she is there. Lily cannot bear to do it herself. The Daughters continue the Mary ceremony as June plays the cello. The women rub honey all over the statue.

Later that afternoon August brings Lily a box of her motherís things, which includes a hair brush, a pin, and a book of poetry among other items. Lilyís favorite memento is a picture of her mother feeding her when she was a baby. Lily believes this is the sign she asked for that she was loved.


This chapterís epigraph tells us that despite the worker beeís small size, she can carry a load heavier than herself. In this chapter we begin to see that despite the guilt she carries regarding her motherís death and her devastation at having been left, Lily will be all right.

The major theme of this chapter is Lilyís negotiation of her feelings since she has found out the truth about her mother. When Lily finds out that her mother did actually love her, she is able to regroup. This chapter sets up the plot for the climax and resolution which follow in Chapter Fourteen.

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