Life of Bees Racial Enlightenment Thesis
Excerpt from Thesis :
Though her mother had passed, there would be maternal, familial and nurturing love to be found in the warmth and kindness of those whom she would meet here. With the Black Madonna photograph as a compass and the pressures of the changing Civil Rights climate as a motor, Lily ultimately had found personal redemption in the implications of both. It is no matter of coincidence that the author so aggressively intertwined the conditions of Lily's confrontation of her own demons concerning the death of her mother with the personal revelations that, on a broad social scale, underscored the Civil Rights Movement as a whole. Indeed, the resolution finds Lily in a place of relative emotional equanimity, having confronted the truth about her mother, having faced the anger of her father and having ultimately settled on her life in the Boatright's community. Accordingly, "August and her community become Lily's new family, and, at long last, Lily develops into a loved and loving person." (SparkNotes, 1)
In characters like Rosaleen and the Calendar sisters, Kidd places Lily under the care of women whose experiences differed profoundly from Lily's own. Likewise, the inherent state of disadvantage imposed upon them by their race would help to place Lily's own self-pity and self-loathing into perspective. As she finds both emotional warmth in the motherly wisdom of the admirable women around her, she also begins to demonstrate those admirable traits herself. The woman in whom such qualities are seen at the novel's resolution is one profoundly changed from the tortured and racially ignorant girl at its beginning.
Flanagan, M. (2002). Review: The Secret Life of Bees. About Contemporary Literature. Online at http://contemporarylit.about.com/cs/currentreviews/fr/secretLifeOfBee.htm
HCRHS. (2007). The Secret Life of Bees Weblog. Hunterdon Central Regional High School.
Horn, J. 2008). 'Secret Life of Bees' is a test case for mainstream appeal. Los Angeles Times. Online at http://articles.latimes.com/2008/oct/16/entertainment/et-word16
Kidd, Sue Monk. (2003). The Secret Life of Bees. Penguin.
SparkNotes. (2008). The Secret Life of Bees. Barnes & Noble.
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