The Secret Life of Bees

The Secret Life of Bees highlights the story of Lily, a young girl who has shaped her life around the devastating memory of her mother’s death when she was only four years. The death of Lily’s mother leaves her with her harsh and unyielding father. Rosaleen, a tender and fierce-faced black woman who stands in as Lily’s mother is arrested and beaten one summer afternoon because of the high levels of racism and violence in North Carolina. Lily is desperate about saving Rosaleen and fleeing from the difficult life she was experiencing. Using her wits, she breaks Rosaleen out of jail and the two escape. Three black bee keeping sisters, May, June, and August accommodate Lily and Rosaleen (Kidd). Lily is consumed by their secret world of bees and honey and the Black Madonna in charge of the household of wise women. Overall, Lily finds the thing heart desires most through secrets, betrayal, and forgiveness.

The purpose of the book is to highlight the fact that individuals can overcome significant losses in their lives using the different gifts bestowed on them. The most significant idea presented in the book is the divine power of women and their transforming gift of love.

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Sue Monk Kidd was born on 12 August 1948 in Sylvester, Georgia. As a child, Monk had the passion to become a writer, but the existing attitudes in the South during her youthful days denied her the opportunity at that stage, and she only become a writer at the age of thirty. On her debut as a writer, she started writing spiritual texts concerning Christianity. She only began writing fiction in her forties. It was worth noting that Monk began working on her first novel, The Secret Life of Bees in 1997, and it was published in 2002. The novel has sold more than 4.5 million copies and had been on New York’s bestseller novels for over two years. Lily’s experience in the field of writing and her passion indicate her credibility in writing on this topic. She is a woman with passion and understands the interests of women in society better especially after the attitudes she experienced during her youthful days. Currently, she lives in North Carolina with her family.

One of the key ideas that coincide with the class readings is the divine power of women. The novel presents the divine power of women in transforming lives. More so, the wisdom assists in overcoming life's challenges. Lily finds what her heart desires after being accommodated by the three bee sisters, May, June, and August. She finds this through her experiences of secrets and betrayals in life. These sisters influence her, and she finds true forgiveness in her heart and acquires many teachings that guide her life (Kirk). This is in line with class readings that suggest that women have divine power and a sense of wisdom that can influence the entire society toward progress.

Another significant idea that coincides with class readings is that love has an irresistible power to transform an individual. Lily gains immense transformation after being accommodated by the three bee sisters. She gains so much, and her past attitudes about the loss of her mother change gradually. She transforms into a forgiving person and even forgives herself for what she had held throughout her life.  Lily gains a transformation after meeting the bee sisters who have the divine power to transform a person through their secrets and life’s teachings. Lily becomes a better person than she had been and even appreciates herself with the assertion that she has found new life. This coincides with the class readings on the power of love and its significance in making up the lives of individuals.

Racism is the current event in the novel that indicates a reality in today’s world. In the novel, it is asserted that Rosaleen was black, and she is arrested and beaten because of the high levels of racism existing in North Carolina. This is after insulting three of the most notorious racists in the town. The novel presents racism as a real event, which still exists in today’s world. People still hold racial feelings toward each other because of the differences in skin color. Racism causes the use of violence on an individual because of the fact that he/she does not belong to a particular race (Kidd). Racism is a current event, and it can be seen in different places ranging from football fields to the field of politics where some politicians still campaign against each other using racist ideologies. The book’s idea of racism is still evident and continues being an enormous issue in today’s world.  

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One of the key experiences in the book that connects to other texts is devastation and resilience in life. Lily is devastated at an earlier age of four after the death of her mother. Similarly, other novels read in class have highlighted stories of devastation when characters lose their loved one’s leading to desperation and the feeling of despair. The novel is also related to other readings in the sense that it highlights resilience and finding hope in life after a long spell of devastation the live of the highlighted characters. It is similar to other class readings in the manner it highlights the journey toward resilience and new hope in the life of individuals. This implies that people can read it and relate it to other stories hence gaining confidence in life.

Notably, racism is another idea from the book that relates to other novels read in class. Racism is a global issue and can be witnessed all over the globe Several other class readings contain the issue of racism and the manner in which different authorities are struggling to alleviate racial feelings all over the globe. The book highlights racism as an issue having been existence for a long time, and there have many cases of reported violence against minorities because of continuous racist emotions among people.  These connections help in the understanding that racism has been in existence since time immemorial, and the world is fighting to eliminate it gradually.

Critics assert that the overall style and ideas highlighted in the book are worthwhile. They agree that racism is an immense issue that has been affecting society over a long period. They also appreciate the author’s style of picking up Lily as a character and reflecting on her life since her childhood days (Kirk). This facilitates proper understanding of the entire themes highlighted in the novel. It also establishes the aim of the novel hence helping readers make meaning out of it. Critics are only discontented with the fact that Kidd did not include the theme of the civil rights movement. They affirm that racism comes with the establishment of such movements, which ensure the rights of all individuals are safeguarded effectively.

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In my opinion, the book is extremely educative and contains ideas that can guide an individual toward achievement in life. It brings forth the devastation that Lily was forced to face after the loss of her mother. She lives with a harsh father and her stand in mother who was also fierce. She is wise enough and runs away from the suffering after saving her Rosaleen from arrest and racial violence. Ultimately, Lily finds peace and develops a forgiving heart even to herself. Her experiences teach her to be resilient and to have faith in life because there is full love in everyone’s life. I recommend the book to all women. This is because the book is enriched with ideas that touch on the lives of women and the manner in which they can progress in life with a high level of resilience and persistence.  Additionally, I recommend it to all women because the entire story revolves around their lives and gives them hope with the assertion that they have divine power to transform lives.

Reading the book for the class was extremely motivational. The book contains much information that reignites one’s spirit toward adopting positive living and moving toward achievement in life. The topic of the book is itself fulfilling because of its indication that life can be extremely easy in cases where individuals discover its secrets. The bee has also been highlighted in the title as an indication of hard work and persistence in life. Reading the book for this class did not only contribute to the educational value, but also contributed to overall life and ideas concerning how individuals are supposed to approach life and transform their lives significantly. The book is also interesting through its chronological narration of Lily’s journey and her movement toward freedom, faith, and forgiveness. At last, she comes to discover that life is full of love, she also learns to forgive and have faith in life. Overall, reading the book in for the class contributed both to educational and life’s teachings about persistence and resilience in life.

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