The devastating tragedy of losing a person's mother at an early age can drastically affect that person's life. It can impact the way someone thinks, corresponds with others, and the way someone handles themselves emotionally. In the novel The Secret Life of Bees Lily Owens loses her mother at the early age of four. During Lily's journey she finds comfort and support in the women that she meets. Throughout the novel Lily goes through many changes because of the impact of the motherly figures of the Black Mary, Rosaleen, and the Calendar Sisters.
During Lily's journey the Black Mary helps change Lily's life by providing structure. The ritual of the Calendar Sisters, Rosaleen, and Lily praying before the Black Mary everyday provides Lily with time to focus on her emotions and thoughts. Structure gives Lily a routine with helps her stay organized. "'I reached out and traced Black Mary's heart with my finger'" (Monk Kidd 164). Lily is able to touch the Black Mary on her second attempt. This gives Lily as physical connection to the Black Mary, which she never had with her real mother. The Black Mary acts like a silent mother towards Lily because Lily can connect with the Black Mary physically, but not as much socially. Lily can relate to the Black Mary socially but only through prayer, which is not as strong of a connection as the physical aspect. After Lily learns about the stories that tell the Black Mary's past, she can relate to the Black Mary even more. "'You know, she's really just the figurehead off an old ship, but the people needed comfort and rescue, so when they looked at it, they saw Mary, and so the spirit of Mary took over'" (141). When L...
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... (243). Lily received a lot of love that gave her hope and made her feel good about herself. Instead of having one mother, Lily had three. Which she felt was the best thing for her. "All these mothers. I have more mothers than eight girls off the street. They are the moons shining over me" (302).
Through Lily's life journeys and lessons she learns to appreciate the small things in life and thank those who care. The impact of the Black Mary, Rosaleen and the Calendar Sisters help Lily go through positive changes. Even though Lily lost her mother at an early age, she still had the opportunity to have a great life. Lily was lucky to have the love and support of the many women that are in her life. Lily had a great life and fit into the African American culture perfectly.
Kidd, Sue Monk. The Secret Life of Bees. New York: Penguin, 2002.
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