TheSecret Life of Bees:Journey from Guilt to Acceptance
TheSecret Life of Beesis a narration of Lily, a girl aged fourteen years, who escapes fromher unloving father to look for secrets of the past of her deadmother. Kidd, the author of the novel, addresses the agonizingdivision between generations and races through a tapestry ofspiritual symbolism (Van Kirk 4). The novel focuses on the role thatLily played in the death of her mother that made her guilty of heractions. The novel explains the exploration of the path that resultsin religious maturity and helps Lily to acquire her inner core onwhich to depend. The focus of this story is on Lily’s journey froma guilty conscience to that of acceptance. Thesearch for acceptance and personal inner core standing for a motherlyfigure is a vital mission for the narrator.
LilyOwens, the novel’s primary character, was fourteen years old whenall the events happened, but her attention frequently goes back toher actions ten years before the mother`s death. She understands thatshe was the one who unintentionally killed her mother (Van Kirk 5). The knowledge of her mother’s death, in addition to her father’shostility and the lack of maternal love, was intolerable. The gapleft by her mother needed to be filled so that the author could findpeace. However, it was difficult for the gap to be refilled becauseher mother played an essential role that could not be compensated. Sheregrets the actions that were beyond her capability to be rectifiedand decides to deal with the issue expressively, as it was theirtradition.
Inchapter 1, she states
“Thatnight I lay in bed and thought about dying and going to be with mymother in paradise. I would meet her saying, ‘Mother, forgive.Please forgive,’ and she would kiss my skin till it grew chappedand I was not to blame. She would tell me this for the first tenthousand years.”(Van Kirk 6)
Thechallenges faced by Lily such as grief and guilt empower her toovercome the struggles she is undergoing.Her choice to leave T. Ray appears unprompted and disloyal. However,it is the natural result of the already started transformation. Theconversion continued when Lily met Zach and August, who advised heraccordingly. She realized an expansion of her perspectives making itpossible to gain courage and strength that made it possible to forgetabout the past and live in the present. She was able to understandhow their guidance was helpful. She found out that it was promisingto forgive herself for the actions she could not control or change,and be accountable for what she could indeed transform. Her self-esteem was built up by the little victories she faced, and enabledher to have faith that she was precious of care (Van Kirk 7).Discovering the reality of the death of the mother was a shockingexposure for Lily. Nevertheless, even if it takes the girl asignificant amount of time to admit the truth, things are no longerthe same for her. She becomes more independent of her family and thepast while gaining strength as time progresses. Lily identifiedherself with companions who assisted her in establishing heridentity. Sheas well apprehends that neither criticism nor approval is significantfor molding her life.
Theimportant aspect about Zach and August is that they offer anopportunity for Lily to discover how to establish a meaningfulrelationship with people.The girl was devoid of the environment of warmness, trust, andopenness before she met the two friends that made her insecureconcerning whom she was. Lily had a new experience of having peoplearound that would give her support. The understanding made her awareof her right and power to choose and develop her personal life. Theexperience is much focused on maturity and also about proactivelycreating oneself instead of unendingly holding the externalcircumstances responsible.
Theconnection between Lily and her departed mother is not ruined but hasundergone a transformation.The death of her mother accompanied by the misfortunes surroundingit, including the distress and guilt that Lily was experiencing were,in reality, the essential links in the path to acceptance. Lily’spersonal story is of significance as it shaped her to be theindividual she is and gave her the prospective for growth (Van Kirk9). The story should not be rejected. Thenew surrounding is vivid for her as though she elevated to a newstage.
Lilylearns to forgive herself before she accepts the demise of her motherthrough the help of her friends August, and Zach.She is taught by August how to be affectionate for her life and thecreatures of the world. Zach, on the other hand, makes the girl learnabout the aspects of romantic love. The understanding of self-forgiveness for Lily brings about the idea that love is necessary forexistence, and it is as well a practical mechanism to enhancing asecure and stable life (Van Kirk 9). August talks about the bees thatwhen they bump on the forehead of a person, they mean they got theireyes on the individual, and the person needs to be careful by sendingthem love and all will be well (Chapter 8).
Thefocus of TheSecret Life of Beesnovel is more on the religious transformation that the reporterexperiences after meeting Zach, August, and her sisters. The storyshows the way people are capable of sparking each other and establishrelationships founded on affection, and how the comprehension of lovecan make life more meaningful and secure. The affection that shegets to learn from Zach is instrumental in making Lily accepts thatit is possible to develop positive feelings for each other with theright attitude. She takes a significant amount of time to regardingdealing with the guilt that she was facing. Further, the guilt was ahindrance on her journey of love. However, acceptance arises enablingher to be more fulfilling and thus, concentrates more on the currentinstances. The previous life tragedies do not fade away, but they areincorporated into a fresh point of view, including optimisticlessons.
VanKirk, Susan. CliffsnotesOn Kidd`s The Secret Life Of Bees.Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010. Print.