TheSecret Life of Bees:Journey from Guilt to Acceptance
TheSecret Life of Beesfocuses on the role of Lily in the death of her mother and thesubsequent feeling of guilt as a result of her actions. The novelexplains the exploration of the path that results in religiousmaturity and helps Lily to discover her inner self. Fromthis story, it is clear that the shift from guilt to acceptance is astep-by-step process and requires the support of other members of thesociety to be achieved.
Theage of an individual plays an important role in the process ofself-discovery.Lily Owens, the novel’s primary character, was fourteen years oldwhen the unfortunate event unfolded. She understands that sheunintentionally killed her mother (Van Kirk 5). The knowledge of hermother’s death, in addition to her father’s hostility and thelack of maternal love, was intolerable. The teenage girl needed thegap created following her mother’s death to be filled so as toguarantee her peace. She regretted the actions that led to themisfortune and decided to deal with the issue expressively as was thetradition. The author states, “That night I lay in bed and thoughtabout dying and going to be with my mother in paradise. I would meether saying, ‘Mother, forgive. Please forgive,’ and she would kissmy skin till it grew chapped and I was not to blame. She would tellme this for the first ten thousand years.” (Van Kirk 6)
Lilyis empowered by the challenges she is facing in the form of grief andguilt.Her choice to leave her father, also known as T. Ray, seems abruptand not well calculated. When she met Zach and August, she felt athome. The warmth formed the basis of courage and strength thatculminated in her ability to forget her dark past and engage in ahealing process. The guidance offered by the three sisters was alsohelpful and set her on a path of personal growth. At this juncture,she appreciated the need to forgive herself for the accidental deathof her mother. Her self-esteem improved during this period as she wasable to overcome a series of issues that had clouded her life in thepast (Van Kirk 7). Discovering the reality behind the death of themother was a shocking exposure for Lily. This message was confirmedto her when the father came for her at the Boatwright’s. Eventhough she refused to go back with him, T. Ray was kind enough toprovide the necessary answers when they mattered most. With thesupport and care of August and her sister, Lily becomes moreindependent-minded and focuses on ways to learn the bee-keepingescapades of the Boatwright family. Such actions set the basis forself-discovery as she was able to give a cold shoulder to unfoundedcriticisms that had tainted her past.
Thecompany an individual keeps can determine the level of recovery.Both Zach and August play massive roles in the life of Lily as theyoffer an opportunity for her to discover how to establish meaningfulrelationships with people. At the initial stages of the play, Lilylacked the warmth, trust, and openness. This was before she met thetwo characters that greatly influenced her life and set the tone forpersonal growth. Lily had a new experience since the people aroundher were willing to offer their support, unlike her father. The newchanges enabled her to begin a new chapter in life as she was givenresponsibilities that she had to fulfill while living in theBoatwright household.
Therelationship between Lily and her mother undergoes a transformation.The demise of her mother, accompanied by the misfortunes surroundingit such as the guilt had derailed her quest to connect with hermother. Lily’s personal story is of significance as it built thefoundation for her to grow as an individual (Van Kirk 9). Theconnection is further highlighted when Lily’s is made aware of thefact that August was her mother’s nanny. The discovery bringsadditional sparks to the diminishing relationship between the younggirl and her dead mother. In August, Lily is blessed with a personwho has a substantial past with her mother.
Withthe help of Zach and August, Lily is able to forgive herself andlearn that the events leading to her mother’s death were beyond hercontrol. The culmination of the confrontation between Debora and T.Ray was purely accidental and had nothing to do with Lily.
Augustand Zach transform the life of Lily.August teaches her the art of affection and how such feelings shouldbe directed to people and other creatures of the world. Zach, on theother hand, becomes romantically involved with her thereby settingthe stage for an exciting love story. With the idea ofself-forgiveness having been instilled in Lily, she is in a positionto afford a stable lifestyle with the help of August (Van Kirk 9).August uses the examples of bees to communicate with Lily on theimportance of love. The comparison analysis encourages one to showlove to others to avoid getting hurt as in the case of a bee thatmight sting if not given the most appropriate treatment.
Thefocus of TheSecret Life of Beesnovel is on religious transformation as in the case of Lily and theBoatwright sisters. The story shows the way people are capable ofassisting one another and fostering relationships founded onaffection, and how the comprehension of love can make life moremeaningful and secure. Zach’s love is instrumental in making Lilyaccepts that it is possible to develop positive feelings for eachother with the right attitude. Her relationship with Zach reminds herof the existence of true love. This experience helps her to overcomethe sense of guilt that had clouded her judgment for a while. Throughacceptance, she can concentrate more on current activities and derivefulfillment from her interactions with others. All these experiencesare new to her since she has undergone a transformation. Followingthe death of her mother, her life was full of gloom and lacked love.However, the Boatwright sisters, with a particular focus on Augustenabled her to begin a new chapter in her life. The significantchange was crowned through her interaction with Zach.
VanKirk, Susan. CliffsnotesOn Kidd`s The Secret Life Of Bees.Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010. Print.