Emotion and Culture in Secret Life of Bees

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Heart break, joy, love, happiness, The Book The Secret Life of Bees has it all! The book is about a young girls that accidentally shot her mother. After spending nine years with her abusive, and emotionally absent father, she decides to run away. So, she breaks her beloved nanny out of prison, and Lily escapes to Tiburon South Carolina, a town she links to her mother through the writing on one of her old possessions. While in Tiburon, Lily finds the calendar sisters three very different, very helpful sisters. The family agrees to take Lilly in, despite the fact that almost every white person in town frowns upon the very idea of this white girl staying in an African American household. While staying with the sisters, August, May, and June, Lily learns lots of things, ranging from bee keeping, to why and how her mother first left her. She falls in love, explores her past, and finds it within herself to forgive her mother for leaving her, and herself, for shooting her mom. This book is rich in both emotion, and culture.

Although the main character in the book was white, the author, Sue Kidd, does a great job of depicting the African American culture during the time. Whether it was Rosaleen getting beat up in jail, or Zach dreaming of being a lawyer, this book showed you what it was like being a minority during a time when rights where still being fought for. One of the smaller conflicts in the story was a man verses man conflict, when Lily and Zach started to like each other. Though they knew that a colored man, and a white girl could never be together, they both were attracted to each other. Were they not from different cultures, people would have been fine with them dating, but because Zach was black, it couldn?t work out.

Another internal conflict is how Lilly feels responsible for her mother?s death. When she was four, she accidentally shot her mom, and wasn?t able to forgive herself. The reason she runs away in the first place is because her dad tells her that her mom left her, which is both an internal, and man versus man conflict. She?s mad at her dad for saying it, but can?t fully convince herself that it isn?t true. There?s a man versus society conflict when men beat up Rossaleen because of her color, and another internal conflict when May is so overcome with grief that she cant stop crying.

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