Free Study Guide for The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd|
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Lily moves into June’s room after June’s wedding. August and the Daughters made the room into something Lily could never have imagined because it is so beautiful. Clayton works on the charges against Lily and Rosaleen and believes they will be dropped by Thanksgiving. Lily becomes friends with Clayton’s daughter, Becca. She and Becca go to the same school as Zach and sit with him whenever they can at lunch. The other kids tease them, but Lily and Becca do not care. Lily has forgiven herself and her mother. She sits in her new room and writes everything down. Lily keeps up May’s wall--she gives it fresh prayers and fresh rocks. Lily visits the black Mary every day and feels that she has more mothers than anyone else.
The final epigraph of this novel, found at the beginning of Chapter Fourteen, tells us that bees will die without a queen in the colony. However, if a new queen is introduced, wonderful things can happen. This chapter encompasses the plot’s climax and resolution.
The climax of a plot is the major turning point that allows the protagonist to resolve the conflict. The climax of The Secret Life of Bees occurs when Lily confronts T. Ray in the pink house. Throughout the novel, Lily has been struggling with who she is in relation to her mother’s death. In other words, Lily is having difficulty deciding what kind of woman she wants to be without the direction of a mother. As suggested in various epigraphs, Lily is wandering senselessly like a bee without a queen. When Lily confronts T. Ray she makes the decision not to live with him any longer. This decision is different than the one she made when she ran away because it is a permanent decision. It is also an informed decision. Lily realizes that T. Ray is a destructive person and that she cannot live subjected to his close-minded and cruel ways. This is an adult decision. In this scene Lily also learns, definitively, that she was responsible for her mother’s death. That Lily chases T. Ray in order to find out this information suggests she is prepared for the possibility that she has killed her mother. This turning point, in which Lily refuses to submit to T. Ray and prepares to reconcile the guilt she has for killing her mother, allows Lily to resolve her past and begin anew.
The resolution of the novel is that Lily replaces her “queen” and starts
over. Throughout the novel, Lily has been in search of herself as much
as she has been in search of her mother. Learning the truth about her
mother--both that Deborah left her and that she was responsible for Deborah’s
death--allows Lily to begin the process of forgiving them both. In forgiving,
Lily is set free to start fresh. Because she freed herself from T. Ray,
Lily gives herself the opportunity for a bright future and finally learns
what it is like to be part of a loving family. Lily, who has been lost
without a queen, finds a series of new queens in the new women in her
life as well as in Mary.
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. 09 May 2017