The Secret Life Of Bees: Lily's Change

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Coming of age is the transition from childhood to adulthood, often children undergoing changes, with time, become more mature. In The Secret Life of Bees, Lily is a teenage girl living in a small town in South Carolina. Lily’s mother passed away when she was young and Lily struggles to cope with her mother’s death and seeks answers for the truth. Lily was forced to grow up with an abusive father who showed little to no affection towards his daughter. Sue Monk Kidd presents the idea that change allows Lily to mature and develop as a character causing her to become more independent.

In The Secret Life of Bees Kidd shows how Lily has become less naive and has started to understand the serious issues worldwide related to racism. When arriving at the Boatwright house she is introduced to Zach; a young, athletic, African male, who is a hard worker and supports Augusts beekeeping occupancy.

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At my school they made fun of colored people’s lips and noses. I myself had laughed at these jokes, hoping to fit in. Now, I wished I could pen a letter to my school to be read at the opening assembly that would tell them how wrong we’d all been. You should see Zachary Taylor, I’d say. (Kidd, 116).

Lily comes to the realization that if her classmates were introduced to Zach they too would understand that the negative stigmas towards other ethnicities are wrong.

In The Secret Life of Bees Kidd shows that Lily searches for a motherly figure through the Boatwrights and Black Virgin Mary. Lily shows the need for a role model to influence her change in the novel. Overall Lily develops as a character through feeling her mother through Virgin Black Mary.

I live in a world of darkness, and you are my mother, I told her. You are the mother of thousands. (Kidd,…)

Lily wants answers about her mother, but overall just wants a motherly figure helping her develop and change into a woman. She goes to the Boatwright house and the three months sisters act as motherly figures for Lily. Overall Lily wants comfort and acceptance which is what she receives at the Boatwright house helping her go through the changes she needs.

Kid asserts that no one is perfect in this world and everyone makes mistakes, the important thing is to learn from these mistakes and overcome your differences. Lily’s mother made a mistake, but learned from her mistake making her more caring.

Every person on the face of the earth makes mistakes, Lily. Every last one. We’re all so human. Your mother made a terrible mistake, but she tried to fix it. (Kidd, 256)

August is saying this to Lily explaining that everyone can make mistakes. Lily’s mother leaving Lily was a big mistake, but the fact that Deborah came back proves that she is human.

In The Secret Life of Bees Kidd shows Lily changes and how each step she takes are overall help her grow and come to peace with her mother’s death. transitioning them into the real world. Overall children in their teenage years adapt and overcome challenges causing them to change. Lily’s change within The Secret Life of Bees is a transitioning and a coming of age. 


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