Disguise in “Little Bee”, by Chris Cleave Essay

Disguise in “Little Bee”, by Chris Cleave Essay

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In Chris Cleaves Little Bee, all of the characters wear some kind of disguise that hides their true identity. The characters all wear different disguises in order to sustain their personal conditions. Little Bee, one of two protagonists in the book, disguises herself in three different ways to protect herself from any harm that can ensue as a result of true identity. She is young, sixteen year old Nigerian girl that travels to England to escape the conditions of her native country. From the moment she sets foot on English soil, she is taken into an immigration detention center where she is confined because she does not have papers proving her age. Little bee undergoes trauma through her first experiences in England and has all sense of hope shattered. She has to disguise herself in every way possible by: changing how she looks physically for protection for others, learning how to speak the “Queens English” in order to fit in, and even refrain from revealing what her real name is. This leads her to having no real identity. It is not until she is released from the detention center and taken in by Sarah, another protagonist, and her son Charlie, that she starts to regain her confidence and begin to shed her disguise to reveal her true identity.
Little Bee goes through a traumatic experience during her confinement at the detention center and has to apply major changes to her identity in order to survive. Little Bee’s vision however was not narrow as she is able to plan how she wants to change herself to survive both inside and outside of the detention center. To begin with, she is initially concerned about her own safety within the detention center since both the men and women share the same space in the daylight. She feels as if the...


... middle of paper ...


...o protect herself and blend in with the majority.
Following the traumatic experience in the detention center, Little Bee is taken in by Sarah and her son Charlie. They provide her with a home and the sense of having a family that she can trust and communicate her troubles with. This is a crucial position for Little Bee to be in because she has been experiencing situations that made her lose her sense of hope and belief that her conditions might improve. She tries to find ways commit suicide wherever she goes just in case matters get worse, that way she could relieve herself from all the pressure: “whenever I go into a new place, I work out how I would kill myself there” (Cleave 47) .So by having someone to communicate with and trust, it sparks the sense of hope and rebuilds her confidence. Moreover, Sarah and Charlie play a major role in Little Bee’s development.

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