Table of Contents
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Final Book Analysis


Chapter One
1. “The queen, for her part, is the unifying force of the community; if she is removed from the hive, the workers very quickly sense her absence. After a few hours, or even less, they show unmistakable signs of queenlessness.” This quote says how if a leader or parent falls then the whole empire or family will collapse with them. Lily shows signs of queenlessness because her mother had been killed when Lily was only a child so Lily’s father T. Ray, never cared for Lily and without her mother she showed signs of queenlessness. (Alex)

2. From the time period and chapter, we can tell that in the south, whites are above blacks. When the men at the gas station were calling Rosaleen names, they were wrong. However, it was surprising when Rosaleen spilled her Tobacco spit on top of the men’s boots, which is also wrong. Only Rosaleen was the only one arrested, even though she was beaten by the men, before getting arrested, the men having no punishment. (Thomas)

5. After Rosaleen stands up to T-Ray about the Chick T-Ray simply walks away without a problem. When Lily said, “His boots whispered uncle all the way down the hall" I believe she is saying the boots were giving up since he walked away from the argument. (Albert)

6. A simile and a metaphor are very similar in one way, they both compare two things to be more descriptive. However, the difference between a simile and a metaphor is that a simile uses the words "like" or "as" to compare the two things while a metaphor does not. The main character stated, Lily, in her narration "Every one of those bees could have descended on me like a flock of angels and stung me till I died" (Kidd 2). She used bees attacking her to compare to angels coming down from heaven. As you can see she used the word "like" to compare which means it is a simile. (Brian)

7. The use of foreshadowing was on Lily's birthday and before Lily and Rosaleen left for Sylvan. It says, “Later I would remember that, how she set out, a marked woman from the beginning. Rosaleen has a bad temper and when she goes into town, she won't have a tolerance for anything. This foreshadows when she goes into town and gets arrested. The three men were talking badly to her so she dumped her tobacco spit on their shoes. The men didn't deserve that but Rosaleen's bad temper thought that she should do it. I think that Rosaleen's bad temper will get her in trouble later in the book also. (Bobby)


Chapter Two
1. T. Ray is a racist because even though he respects African Americans, he doesn’t treat back and white people equally. He treats white people better. For an example, Lily says, “What about Rosaleen? You have to get her out,” and T. Ray says, “You’re lucky I got you out!” (Kidd 37). T. Ray got Lily out of jail instead of Rosaleen. Even though, Lily is his daughter, he doesn’t care about her that much. T. Ray isn’t a complete racist because he respects Rosaleen and listens to her. I think there are degrees of racism because a person could respect other races but think their race is more superior. I don’t think it’s OK though because everyone is equal. (Bobby)

2. In the story the author uses the metaphor “Lily Melissa Owens, your jar is open” to describe Lily’s opportunity to leave and run away. Her jar is open meaning she can leave now, it is her chance to leave and get away from T. Ray. This metaphor relates to a part earlier in the book when she says she is longing for the way the “bees flew, not even looking for a flower, just flying for the feel of the wind, split my heart down its seem”. She wants to fly out of her jar, out of the trap and containment that T. Ray keeps her in. She wants to fly free and not worrying about being beat or abused by T. Ray. She wants to be as free as the bees. (Brian)

4. The reasons for Lily running:
· T Ray telling her about her mother
· T Ray’s anger
· Rosaleen’s incident with the men
· Rosaleen’s being in jail.
The reason that Lily chose now to run away, was the combined fact that Rosaleen was in the hospital, and she was going to be beat, or maybe killed. Lily decided to take the opening and get Rosaleen and run away. (Thomas)

5. Lily and Rosaleen begin there fight when Lily said she ran off to get away from her father. Rosaleen replies saying, “I get it. You ran off’ cause of what your daddy said about your mother. It didn’t have nothing to do with me in jail.” This shows how Rosaleen becomes offended do to Lily running away to escape her father rather than save Rosaleen. They continue to argue until Lily says, “Your have to be dumb to pour your snuff juice on those men’s shoes like that. And then dumber not to say your sorry.” This basically made Rosaleen so furious she just walked off. Lily was not justified to talk to her like that, not only was she her elder but acted as a mother figure since her biological mother passed away when she was younger. After a little while they make up and continue on their way. (Albert)

6. Lily’s interactions with Rosaline are similar to a girl’s interactions with her mother because Lily is argues with Rosaline when just like a daughter would to her mother like when Lily says “ You have to be dumb to pour your snuff juice on those men’s shoes like that. They were gonna come back and kill you.” When Lily was yelling at Rosalina is was just like when a girl yells at her mother for embarrassing her or did something wrong. (Alex)

Chapter Three
1. Lily's attitude towards Catholics was very abnormal. Normally people think of other religions as an "abomination" to there's. So when Lily said "... my mother had been mixed up with the Catholics somehow, and--I have to say--this secretly thrilled me. What she is saying is that she didn't mind how Lily's mother could have been a Catholic and she had been perfectly fine with it if she was one. (Alex)

5. The finding of the Black Madonna honey, as in many books, was a sign. The reason is that it was so very sudden, simply finding the honey in the general store, and getting the directions was also very easy for Lily. It is a sign that would point them in the direction they needed to go in, as a road sign guides a car or truck, the honey was a sign.(Thomas)

Chapter Four
2. Lily is a good liar. It helps her, but at a cost. Being a good liar helps her because it stops people from asking questions and gets her what she wants. For an example, She lies to stay with the Boatwrights' and the cost is that she "just want[s] to be normal for a little while" (Kidd 79). So, she will have to postpone the investigation of her mother. Lily wants to win August over first so she won't send her back when she finds out what she's done. (Bobby)

3. In the story Lily often answers question for Rosaleen without her even realizing it until after she started talking, “Lily said ‘She fell down the front steps when we were leaving’. August and June traded looks while Rosaleen narrowed her eyes, letting me know I had done it again, speaking for her like she wasn’t even there” (Kidd 72). People tend to speak for others when they feel like they are incapable of speaking themselves. Sometimes, when my brother is too shy, I’ll answer a question for him so he doesn’t say anything stupid. People speak for someone else when they don’t want to be embarrassed or don’t want them to say the wrong thing. In this instance, Lily didn’t want Rosaleen ruining their “secret life” so she answered for her. (Brian)

4. Lily lies frequently in this chapter. She tries to hide why she is roaming with Rosaleen by telling August Boatwright that she is going to her aunt in Richmond, Virginia. The reason that Rosaleen has not interfered with Lily's lies, is due to the fact that August already knows that she is lying. Rosaleen is aware that august knows of this, as we have seen in the quote; "I see. And the thing was, she saw right through it."(Kidd 75) This shows why Rosaleen does not say anything about the real story. (Thomas)

5. When Lily says, "...My skin had never felt so white to me" I believe it has to deal with the fact she is a 14 year old white girl in a house of all black women. She feels as if she is an outcast to the rest of the house. A part of living with T-Ray made Lily a little prejudice and living in their house, eating from their plates, and sleeping on their sheets made Lily feel extremely uncomfortable. She had never felt as such a minority before since she came from a time and place where whites were considered the race of more opportunity. (Albert)

Chapter Five
1. A revelation is something that is not realized before. June said “But she’s white, August” (Kidd 87), the fact that she was white was not a revelation, but the fact that someone was being racist against the white race was a revelation to her. She has never seen the grass on the other side. She only knew that white people were racist to black people, she didn’t know black people were racist to white people. Lily does have the right to be offended. If someone is being discriminated against because of their race or ethnicity they are going to be offended because it isn’t something that they can control and someone hates them for that. A black person would be offended if a white person discriminated against them, likewise, a white person would feel offended if a black person were discriminated against them. It is common human nature, you are going to be offended for your appearance or ethnicity. (Brian)

3. June lets Lily know that she doesn’t want her there when Lily over hears June talking to August. August and June know that Lily is lying but August thinks they owe her something. June doesn’t want Lily to stay because June thinks she “can’t keep a runaway girl [there] without letting somebody know” (Kidd 86). So, June thinks that Lily is in big trouble with something. Also, I think that June is racist because she brings it up in the conversation and it is one of June’s reasons why she can’t stay. (Bobby)

4. The quote at the beginning of the chapter points out bees live in darkness. This relates to Lily in this chapter because she is lying to August and the other sisters saying here father is dead and she has an aunt not too far away. It resembles Lily being locked up with her secrets and only Rosaleen and herself know that she has run away from her father. Lily fears if she tells August of what she has done August will kick her out and send her back to T-Ray with the Police. (Albert)

6. The author of this story writes in the first person, however, often states the opinion of others quite frequently. This shows us that she is self-conscious and does care about the thoughts and opinions of others. In the story, there are several different types of characters, with different traits. An example of this can be found in the scene where Lily spoke to Rosaleen about the Civil rights act. Rosaleen's thoughts of the matter are put into perspective by Lily. Lily tries to grasp why it is so important to Rosaleen. (Thomas)

Chapter Six
1. The number one question asked in South Carolina is "Where do you come from?" (Kidd 105). It is because the people of South Carolina want to see if they are related in some way. Like, "if your cousin knows our cousin, if your little sister went to school with our big brother, if you go to the same Baptist church as our ex-boss" (Kidd 105). They "are looking for ways [their] stories fit together" (Kidd 105). The number one question asked in my school, especially for freshman, is "What school did you go to?" It is referring to JP Case, Readington, East Amwell, and Delaware. It is frequently asked because people are just curious where they came from and if they know anyone else you know. (Bobby)

2. In chapter six August reads the Bible verses attributed to Mary which are appropriate for and relate to African Americans. “And Mary said…Behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things….He hath scattered the proud….He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away” (Kidd 107) was the Bible verses that August read. These verses relate a lot to African Americans. “He hath put down the mighty from their seats” (Kidd 107), this relates to when the African Americans got their Rights as an American citizen. They were now equal with the white Americans, meaning “He has put down the whites from their superior view.” Likewise, “…and exalted them of low degree” (Kidd 107), to exalt means to raise rank or level in society. This relates to when African Americans were freed from slavery and when they got their Civil Rights. “To when African Americans were slaves they were hungry for freedom, “He hath filled the hungry with good things” (Kidd 107), he has giving the slaves their freedom, he has fed their hunger for freedom. (Brian)

3. At the beginning of the chapter, the epigraph tells the reader about bees and the queen’s substance. This quote relates to the daughters of Mary and how they touch the Mary statue for strength. The women believe that the statue gives them strength and fills them spiritually. One quote; "Our Lady filled their hearts with fearlessness and whispered plans of escape" (Kidd). This is just one quote from the book where the statue acted as a queen-like medium. The group also touches the chest of Mary. This symbolizes the queen substance that the epigraph was speaking of. “Otis pressed his forehead up to the heart, standing there the longest time of them all, head to heart, like he was filling up his empty tank” (Kidd). This quote too, symbolizes the stimulation and rejuvenation of the queen substance. (Thomas)

4. Some reasons the daughters of Mary might meet instead of attend a conventional church is because of a difference in beliefs. The daughters of Mary believe in the story of the Black Mary figure that appeared on the bank of a river discovered by a black slave boy. To them she was a figure of liberation and freedom as August preaches it, "She became so powerful she became known even to the master." (Kidd110). This quote explains how the figure was so holy and powerful the master became afraid of it, later she explains how the master chains up the figure and it escaped many times as it kept being chained up. This statue was a sign of hope to the slaves of that time and the daughters of Mary. Another possible reason they did not practice their faith in a church was because their beliefs were not accepted. The churches probably did not allow or belief their story. (Albert)

5. If I were Lily I would be very angry at June, but also understanding. When Lily showed up and she was white it threw every one off. But then when August was very accepting to Lily June on the other hand rejected Lily. "But just as I was about to reach her, June stopped playing. She stopped right in the middle of the song, and I was left in the silence with my hand stretched out" (Sue Monk 111). What this quote is saying to that June didn't want to Lily to be a part of their family. I disagree with June's decision of doing this but June did not want Lily to be one of them. (Alex)

6. Lily’s attitude towards African Americans has drastically changed through out living with the Boatwright sisters. Lily has come to like August Boatwright because she shows Lily kindness. August in many ways is a mother figure to Lily. August teaches Lily how to tend the bees, tells her stories about her past, and maybe most important, tells her stories about the Black Madonna. “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 wish I could pen a letter to my school to be read at opening assembly that would tell them how wrong we’d been” (Sue Monk Kidd 116). This quote shows the realization of Lily's racism. (Thomas)

Chapter Seven
1. To be ethnocentric means to view another race of people from the perspective of your own race. “At my school they made fun of colored people’s lips and noses” (Kidd 116) is an example of being ethnocentric. This was Lily talking about the white kids in her old school viewing black kids. They view the black kids based on what themselves look like and compare it to the black kids. This relates how people in America make fun of people in Asia by pulling their eyes in attempt to imitate people in Asia. People in America are viewing the people in Asiabased on what they see everyday at home and how they look. Lily isn’t using the standards of her fellow classmates to judge Zach’s beauty, “… [I] would tell them how wrong we have all been” (Kidd 116). We know she is using her standards because if she was using the standards of her classmates she would not think he was very good-looking. The type of thinking Lily’s classmates use can negatively affect their opportunities. Use the example of Lily falling for Zach, if she used the view that the attributes of African Americans are different from those of the whites and that is why she won’t talk to him then she would be missing out on the love and emotions that she is going through now. If she skipped the opportunity she could miss her true love. (Brian)

2. Lily thinks she is headed for beauty because she is a fugitive and when you are a fugitive, you have no future in college or getting a career. She has no other options besides beauty school. Also, she is scared of getting caught be T. Ray or the police. For example, she “jumped every time [she] heard a siren” (Kidd 115). She doesn’t want her perfect life to end. (Bobby)

3. Zach gets upset at Lily when she says he could be a football player. Zach thinks that all white people think is that blacks are good for sports and nothing else. Zach wants to be a lawyer. When Lily suggests Zach could be a professional player he says, “Why is it sports is the only thing white people see us being successful at? I don’t want to play football” (Kidd 120). Zach is tired of people thinking that because he is black, he can only play a professional sport. (Thomas)

4. Lily cries in this chapter because she thinks Zach thinks she will never amount to anything. He sarcastically states, "Oh that's right I forgot...You’re planning on being a writer, you and Miss Willie." (Kidd127) This makes Lily very upset and she looks out the window as they drive down the road. Then she broke down, "I will never throw rose pedals to anybody." (Kidd128) She broke down crying sucking in air as if she were drowning. Then Zach pulls to the side of the road and puts his arms around her in an attempt to comfort her. (Albert)

5. The metaphor used on page 133 is "Zach, who was impossibility," (Kidd 133). What this metaphor means is that Zach will be very hard to get. Later in the paragraph Kidd uses a simile which was "The word is a great big log thrown over the fires of love," (Kidd 133). This means that the love will burn the "impossibility". (Alex)

Chapter Eight
6. When Lily called her father she was expecting him to be worried and heartfelt for where she was. Instead he answers abruptly and violently, "Where the hell are you!" (Kidd159) T-Ray yells this into the phone in an outrage. Lily replies, "I was only..." (Kidd159) but T-Ray interjects screaming again into the phone outraged that she left and how much trouble she is in for busting Rosaleen out of jail. Finally Lily hung up and even though she has love from Rosaleen, August, and Zach she has an empty spot in her heart where she needs love from her family and more importantly her father. (Albert)

7. A comparison can be made between the pink house and a beehive. In the house there is, like in a beehive, a queen, or a queen-like figure. In the house, this is August. August is the true leader of the family. She is the oldest sister, and a mother figure to Lily. All the people in the house go to her for orders. As a beehive buzzes with activity, Lily, May, June, Zach, and Rosaleen go about the house and yard, gathering the honey, or keeping up the house. (Thomas)

Chapter Nine
1. "Actually, you can be bad at something, Lily, but if you love doing, that will be enough" (Kidd). Lily now knows that she might not be a bee keeper yet, but she has the aspiration to be one. This quote is also good for showing how ones desire and love for something, as the Virgin Mary's love for the slaves, can over come the hardships one goes through in completing a task, like the Black Mary's struggle with the slave master. (Thomas)

5. In Lily’s dream, she is making a trail of honey from the honey house to her room in Sylvan. Because Lily’s mother worked at the Boatwright’s house in the honey house, Lily’s is making a trail for her mother to follow from the honey house to her room. In the dream, Deborah, Lily’s mother, “has roach legs protruding through her clothes, sticking through the cage of her ribs, down her torso, six of them, three on each side” (Kidd 174). Lily wants her mother to come back to her. (Bobby)

6. In chapter nine Zach’s friend, Jackson, threw a bottle at a white man “I saw him raise his R.C. Cola bottle over his head. And throw it” (Kidd 178). The white man and his friends huddled around Zach, Jackson, and their other friends and asked who did it. But no one answered, no one wanted to snitch. August, tried to justify Zach’s decision to not snitch on his friend by saying “The hardest thing is choosing what matters” (Kidd 147). Zach made a decision on what matters to him. His decision was to either let the white men win by turning on his friend and or stay together, as a group, as a race, to stand up against the oppressing white men trying to keep the black race down. Zach, wanting to be a civil rights lawyer, was not about to lie down and let the white men win. He won't give in to the white men even if that means going to jail or being beaten. When Rosaleen went to go register to vote white men were saying hurtful things to her which made her react by pouring her snuff on the men’s shoes. In my opinion, Rosaleen’s action was justified. She responded by pouring snuff on the men’s shoes to send a message that she won’t be bullied, she wont let the white men put her down and she will stand up for herself. If Zach made the decision to not snitch he would have to live with the fact that he left his friend to fend for himself, left his friend out there all on his own. If he didn’t stay with his friend he would be living with a large regret. If Rosaleen made the decision to not pour snuff on the men’s shoes she would also be living with large regret. She would feel like she let the men win, she would feel that she let the men bully her and put her down. She poured snuff because she felt that it would make her bigger, it would show that she would not stand down to the men. (Brian)

Chapter Ten
2. May's wailing wall didn't sustain her through Zach's arrest because he was close to her and everything just piled up. June didn't think May needed to know and thought it was better that she didn't. June "[knows] how she loves that boy" (Kidd 182). Also, when May finds out that Zach got arrested and no one told her, she thought that everyone was tired of her being depressed and crying all the time. May thought she didn't deserve to live anymore. (Bobby)

3. When describing May’s death the narrator said “This had been the thing they’d been waiting for half their lives without even realizing it” (Kidd 194). This quote means that the Boatwright sisters always had a feeling that May was going to get overwhelmed with all the guilt and sadness she felt for others that it would be too much. “I’m tired of carrying around the weight of the world” (Kidd 210), May didn’t want to feel for the whole world anymore, she wanted to be free of misery. June and August always had this feeling that May would have to “relieve” herself of her misery but never wanted to really think about it or admit it. (Brian)

4. "I knew it would be selfish to pour this into her cup when it was already overflowing with grief for May" (Kidd 201) As Lily and the others grieve, Lily wishes to tell August about her mother, and find out more about her. " I counted on my fingers how many days it had been since May had told me about my mother staying here. Six. It felt like six months.” (Kidd 201) Lily wants nothing more than to ask August about her mother, but she doesn’t want to upset August anymore than she already is being that May has killed herself. (Thomas)

6. The difference between the origin of rituals of men and of bees if nature. Bees are programmed by nature to select a Queen and continue producing honey. Humans hold funerals for their dead and it is respectful or thought to be too many people to have a nice dinner and in this case eat fried chicken, Deviled eggs, and more. "When the daughters of Mary showed up they were loaded down with food." (Kidd 207) Bees unlike humans need no ritual to cope with their feelings. "Exactly what are we doing this for?" (Kidd 205) Lily thought to herself as her August and Zach began to drape the hives. Bees only worry about two things that is to produce honey and cross pollinate plants and that is all they worry about. (Albert)

Chapter Eleven
1. Zach has changed a lot in chapter 11. Zach has been thrown in jail and abused mentally and physically by white people. He was slapped in the face by racism. He is not racist against but has grown hatred towards all the racism. “It changed you, didn’t it?” (Kidd 230) Lily notices Zach is noticing and understanding what is going on around him and how it has become to change him. “Sometimes, Lily, I’m so angry I wanna kill something.” Zach is becoming very frustrated with all this racism and it is shown how hatred has changed Zach from a young gentleman into just another angry participant in this ongoing fight of segregation in Southern America. (Albert)

3. A person might change their skin color to learn how another race feels. There was once a man who was white, but he took a substance to make himself black. He was experimenting to see how he would then be received by other whites and blacks. The racism was so extreme that he had to stop taking the substance and end the experiment early. Another time a person would want to change their skin color is if they were in love with a person of another race, like in the case of Zach and Lily. Zach wants to change his skin color to white so he can be with Lily. And Lily wants to change her skin color to be with Zach. G.R.S. IV

4. While the residents of the pink house are in mourning of May, all production has screeched to a halt. Normal routines have receded. The house has become lazy. "I barley saw August except in the morning when she crossed the bee yard and headed towards the woods" (Kidd 214) August would have gone to cool the bees if it was hot enough to kill them. She knows how important the bees are to her, and how they were important to May. August and the others are simply in a rut. Just as anyone else that has ever lost someone close to them, however, May committed suicide, making her death all the more tragic. (Thomas)

5. Lily thought Rosaleen “missed having a room to herself” (Kidd 219). In my life, my mom says that she needs her space when my brother and I argue a lot. I don’t think it was rejection because I wouldn’t want to hear my brother and I argue either. She just needed her space and I respected it. After a little while she didn’t need her space anymore because it was a small argument. (Bobby)

6. Zach knows how it feels to be included with a “dying” group even though he had nothing to do with it. Lily also relates to this when she was hooked onto the chain of dying fish that the mean boys back home threw onto her in the river. “Sometimes I would be hooked on the chain along with them,” Lily said to Zach and he responded “I know that feeling” (Kidd 130). Lily was hooked onto the chain with dead fish, Zach knows how this feels because he was “hooked onto the chain” with his friend because he didn’t want to snitch on his friend. He had to go with his friend to jail because even though he didn’t do anything wrong he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and got hooked into the trouble with his friend. He was hooked into the group with his friend because of black racism. This is exactly what Zach wants to stop, he wants to be a civil rights lawyer “I started calling him Zach, the ass-busting lawyer” (Kidd 121). Lily’s dream about her mother being a cockroach relates to Zach during this time. Cockroaches are trapped, they live a miserable life, and Lily’s mom was trapped in living with T. Ray. This relates to Zach because he is trapped behind the suppression of white racism. He can’t get out and so he is trapped, like a cockroach. (Brian)

Chapter Twelve
1. While Lily was talking to August she learned a lot about her mother. She learned things that were like her and things that were different. August said to Lily, “She had a streak like you do. Suddenly she would up and do something other girls wouldn’t dream of” (Kidd 247), Lily was a lot like her mom because they did what they wanted. Lily got up and ran away because she wanted to. When Lily is passionate about something she gets up and does it just like her mother. Both Lily and her mother didn’t have many friends. August says to Lily, “And your mother had an imaginary friend” (Kidd 246). Lily’s mom had an imaginary friend because she didn’t have any real friends, so she made one up. Lily didn’t have any friends either, just like her mother. Another way they are similar is that they had loving nannies that would always be there for them, August told Lily, “I used to take care of her” (Kidd 237). August was telling Lily that she took care of Deborah. Both Lily and Deborah had nannies growing up, Lily had Rosaleen and Deborah had August. However, Lily and her mother are also different. August told a story of when Lily's mom, Deborah, slept walked at night, "One night she walked outside and climber a ladder the roofers had left against the house" (Kidd 246). Lily has never experienced sleepwalking, unlike Deborah. In addition, they are different because Lily would never leave her daughter while Deborah did, “…how could she leave me behind like that?” (Kidd 253). Lily would never leave her child. After the anger she has felt after knowing this information, she would never abandon her child. Lily has learned from her mother to never abandon your child. Lily’s mother abandoned her and ran away to the Boatwright’s house. She did come back, however, when she came back she died from a gun accident. I have also learned things from my mother decisions. For example, she makes the decision to speed all the time. I have been in the car when she got pulled over for speeding, and it makes me not want to speed. The last thing I want is to be pulled over by a police officer now, I have learned to never speed while driving. (Brian)

4. Most of Lily's life Lily believed her mother was always there for her. She had it in her heart that she was right and whatever people such as T-Ray told her they were wrong. "I know, honey. Your mother was Deborah Fontanel Owens." (Kidd235) When August told Lily this Lily was shocked. She did not know what to say and only blinked her eyes. August knew Lily's mother since Deborah was four and August was a house maid of her families. "Why didn't she bring me" (Kidd251) Lily demanded in anguish as August tells her of her mothers little trip. Deborah did not bring Lily along with her when she escaped T-Ray that one time and Lily became very upset with her mother. Deborah was not a bad mother for leaving Lily although it was a poor decision, she did it because she was upset and depressed not because she didn't care for Lily. (Albert)

6. I don’t think Lily has found “the mother within herself” because most mothers are caring and nice but she isn’t being that to herself. For an example, when she wished “[her mother] rotted in there” (Kidd 252). She is referring to the mental institution that Deborah almost went to. Lily isn’t being very motherly like. (Bobby)

Chapter Thirteen
3. Have the events in this chapter have moved Lily to peace with her mother. By the end of the chapter Lily makes peace with her mother. August and Lily had talked the night before the meeting of the daughters of Mary. August reveled to Lily that her mother did in fact leave her. When Lily hears this she becomes angry at her mother, even though August told Lily that her mother went back for her. The next day, Lily feels better when she touches Mary. "You are my mother, you are the mother of thousands" (Kidd 269). She realizes that Mary fills her up with hope, and she feels better. Later, August gives Lily her mothers old things which make Lily feel better about her mother as well. (Thomas)

Quote-“T-Ray was right about my mother” Lily says to Rosaleen. This was an important part in the chapter because it is when Lily tells Rosaleen that she found out her mother left her. Rosaleen explains she knew the whole time that T-Ray appointed her to watch over Lily after Deborah died. “I can’t believe you didn’t tell me.” Lily gets very frustrated with Rosaleen after finding out all this information. Lily tells Rosaleen how she found out and Rosaleen is dumbfounded that August is the one who told Lily all of this about her mother. (Albert)

Symbol- In this chapter, the Daughters of Mary cover the Black Mary statue with honey. The Daughters of Mary cover her in honey every year because “honey is a preservative” (Kidd 269). The Daughters use honey because they think it preserves Mary for another year till Mary Day. The honey is like a shield for the bees because it keeps the comb safe so the bees will survive. It does the same thing for the Black Mary statue.

Poem- While Lily was looking at and English-poetry book August gave to Deborah she came across a poem. On page forty-two of the book she came across an eight lined poem by William Blake:
O Rose, thou art sick!
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,
Has found out thy bed,
A crimson joy,
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy” (Kidd 274, 275).
The rose in this poem is Deborah, Lily’s mother. The worm symbolizes sickness or in Deborah’s case, depression. It “flies in the night” so you can’t see it coming. “In the howling storm” meaning it comes when things are not going good, life was not good for Deborah, and it was like a howling storm. That is why the depression worm came. Deborah was vulnerable to the worm because she wasn’t happy. The worm got into Deborah’s soul, her “bed”. Her soul used to be happy; it used to be “A crimson joy”. “His dark secret love” could be the love that T. Ray had for Deborah. It was dark and painful, that’s why it says “thy life destroy”. His love destroyed her. T. Ray’s love made Deborah vulnerable to the depression worm to get into her soul and make her depressed. We know Deborah was depressed because when August was talking to Lily about why Deborah left her she said, “Depressed people do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do” (Kidd 253). (Brian)


Chapter Fourteen
1. In The Secret Life of Bees Lily carried around mouse bones for a certain reason. At first she didn’t really know why she was carrying them, “Every day I carried them around in my pocket and could not imagine why I was doing it” (Kidd 278). She was talking about how she couldn’t figure out why she was carrying around mouse bones. At first it was a self-conscious decision to carry around the mouse bones so it didn’t make sense. But eventually she figured out why she was carrying them, “I decided sometimes you just need to nurse something, that’s all” (Kidd 285). She figured out the reason she was carrying around mouse bones because she wanted to take care of something, she wanted to be like a mother. It makes perfect sense to me because everyone wants to be taking care of someone at one point in time, especially girls, they always want to be moms. Since Lily couldn’t take care of a child she took care of mouse bones. (Brian)

4. The Epigraph at the beginning of the chapter relates to Lily's feelings of being lost. “A queenless colony is a pitiful and melancholy community, there may be a mournful wail or lament from within… (The Queen Must Die: And Other Affairs of Bees and Men 277). Lily relates to this quote as the community. She is the who is pitiful and melancholy. Without her mother, she has a missing piece missing from her life, a guidance system, to teach her how to act and where to go, as well as how to do it. Now that Lily has August. She has a queen to give her order. (Thomas)

7. Before T-Ray was mean and bitter he was a caring and loving man. He worshiped Deborah and loved her very much, but at the same time he was very controlling. Deborah had to get away and when she did it drove T-Ray into bitterness. “When shed left him, he sunk into bitterness.” (Kidd293) He became mad and crazy if anyone were to leave him again. When T-Ray showed up at the Boatwright house he soon became crazy thinking Lily was Deborah shaking her violently. “Daddy” (Kidd295) Lily screamed trying to let her dad know it was her and not Deborah. Deborah didn’t leave T-Ray because he was mean, T-Ray became mean because Deborah left him. (Albert)

8. Lily imagining Christmastime is wishful thinking because it was a time where T. Ray loved Lily at that time. The positive aspects of this are that Lily can imagine having a father figure that loves her. The negative aspects are that Lily will never actually fell T. Ray’s love now. So it would be better if Lily just forgot about T. Ray and move on. (Alex)

11. I think that Lily shot Deborah because T. Ray was being very straight forward and serious before he left the Boatwright’s house. T. Ray said, “It was you who did it, Lily. You didn’t mean it, but it was you.” T. Ray was kind of saying it as a good bye and finally telling Lily the complete truth.

Final Book Analysis

Character: T-Ray


T-Ray was the father of Lily who was always very mean to everyone. Lily called her father “T-Ray” because calling him “Daddy” never really fit him. T-Ray had lost his wife when Lily was really young, he told Lily that she had ran away, but Lily thinks that she had shot her accidentally when her and T-Ray were arguing. Once when Lily had seen a swarm of bees in her room she had to tell somebody, so she told T-Ray when he was sleeping. Surprisingly all of the bees had vanished when T-Ray entered the room. His reaction to this was not very pleasant. “You wake me up again, Lily, and I’ll get the Martha Whites, you hear me?” (Kidd 5). They said in the book that Martha Whites was a punishment only T-Ray could think of. It really did not specify what it was besides a punishment Lily did not like.
Later in the book Lily decides to run away with Rosaline to a town written on the back of one of her mother things. What made Lily want to run away was when Rosaline had been arrested and T-Ray came to pick Lily up. When T-Ray had found out they were in jail he was furious. T-Ray had hit Lily and then said, “You think that god-damn woman [Lily’s mother] have a shit about you?” (Kidd 39). What T-Ray was saying to Lily was that her mother left her and just came back to get her things.
Closer to the end of the book T-Ray had found out where Lily had been staying and came to pick her up, and instead of taking her by force he sees that Lily is happier there and just leaves. But before he does Lily asked who shot Deborah (Lily’s Mom). What T-Ray had said to that is, “I could tell you I did it. That’s what you wanna hear. I could tell you she did it to herself, but both ways I’d be lying. It was you who did it, Lily. You didn’t mean it, but it was you,” (Kidd 299). What T-Ray was saying was that Lily had shot her mother by accident and he didn’t want to lie to her about it.
I think T-Ray really grew as a person throughout the book. He had lost his wife, and now his daughter, but he understands why and he is starting to accept it. I fell bad for T-Ray because he has lost all of his family he had had and now is all alone again.(Alex)

Relationships: Lily & June
The relationship of Lily and June went from poor to great throughout the course of the story. In the beginning of the relationship June was very hostile towards Lily, not welcoming her into their home because of her color, but August objected. After August agrees to let Lily and Rosaleen stay the intake of June’s breath nearly sucked the air from the room “But, August” (Kidd72) June could not believe August was letting her stay there. Then June began doing spiteful things the Lily to show her remorse. Then one day she argued with August about them staying there and finally June busted out, “But she’s white, August.” (Kidd87) but August calmly replied, “Let’s see if we can help her,” (Kidd87) and so they did. June also did not like the idea of Lily touching the black Mary at the ceremony because of her color, and June stopped playing the cello and with all of this anxiety built up in her Lily fainted. July 28 came around and it was one for the record books one of the hottest days of the year. When Lily and August were eating their lunch they heard a screaming from outside, they pushed back their chairs ran to the front porch to see Rosaleen and May dancing in the sprinkler together. Lily began to play around when June stormed outside, then all of the sudden Lily sprayed June and June yelled out, “Damn it to hell!” (Kidd169) and then June yanked the sprinkler out of her hand and sprayed it on Lily. They began to wrestle on the ground until Lily started to laugh and June broke up as well. “She let go and sprawled back on the grass in convulsions of laughter.” (Kidd169) June began to relax and finally accepted Lily and Rosaleen staying in the house. From then on June and Lily no longer showed hostility towards each other. (Albert Polito)

Themes:Love
Love is one of the most important themes in The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. Love is important because it keeps people going and makes them know that they are wanted. There is love shown between Lily and August, June and Neil, and Lily and Zach.

Lily and August began to love each other when Lily started to do everything with the Boatwright sisters. For example, Lily worshiped the Black Madonna with the sisters and worked with the bees and honey. August showed her loved for Lily when she talked about the “thirty-two names for love in one of the Eskimo languages…And we just have this one” (Kidd 140). Augusts thinks that “we are so limited, [we] have to use the same word for loving” (Kidd 140). August has a higher level of love for Lily that is different than the other types of love. August always made Lily feel like she was wanted in the the house and made her feel at home. Also, she took care of Lily and was like a mother to her.

Near the end of the book, June finally agrees to marry Neil. June agrees to marry him because of May’s letter she wrote before she died. She wrote, “It’s your time to live. Don’t mess it up” (Kidd 210). June figured that it was her time to live and finally agreed to marry him. Since June always said no, I think that kept Neil interested in her and keep asking her.

Throughout the book, Lily and Zach were very good friends and then became boyfriend and girlfriend. Zach “care[s] about [Lily]. [He] think[s] about [her] all the time” (Kidd 231). Lily could always count on Zach to be there for her and talk to her. Zach kept Lily going when August told Lily about her mother and made Lily feel like she was important. (Bobby)

Theme: Hope
The theme of hope is a major component Lily’s character. Throughout the story Lily is “hoping”, holding on to something she does not have, or cannot see, a kind of faith. All throughout the novel, Lily wishes for her mothers forgiveness of her mother. "Mother, forgive. Please forgive (Kidd 3).
Lily often finds herself reflecting on how she shot and killed her mother when she was a young child. When Lily hears from T-Ray that her mother left her, she hopes he lying. “You listen to me,” he said, his voice deathly calm. “The truth is, your mother ran and left you. The day she died, she’d come back to get her things, that’s all (Kidd 39).” Lily hoped that T-Ray was lying; she told herself that he was lying. “God Jesus make him take it back. (Kidd 40).”
Another example of hope was when Lily found the Black Madonna honey jars in the General store. "She stared at me from a dozen jars of honey. BLACK MADONNA HONEY, they said (Kidd 63)." these jars give Lily hope because they match the picture that her mother left behind. As one can see, the theme of hope plays a major role in this novel, merging it with other themes live love, it makes the character and plot ties much stronger. Characters like Lily and May, are further characterized through these themes.(Thomas)

Impact of Religion

Religion is something bigger than oneself. Almost everyone in the world has a religion. Whether it is Catholic, Baptist, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, or faith in the Black Madonna everyone believes in something bigger. Faith gives people strength and courage. Some people think it is the statues that inspire them and some people think it comes within. For example, Lily believed that by touching the statue she gained strength, she said, “I put my hand on her hear… and for a while I really did feel stronger” (Kidd 288). On the other hand, some people believe strength from faith comes from inside, August said to Lily, “ Our Lady is not some magical being…she is not the statue in the parlor. She’s something inside of you” (Kidd 288). Even though their strength comes in two different ways both ways give them courage. August told Lily, “ All those times your father treated you mean, Our Lady was the voice I you that said, ‘No, I will not bow down to this. I am Lily Melissa Owens, I will not bow down” (Kidd 288). Religion impacts someone by giving them strength and courage. Whether it is standing up against someone or something or going through a hard time. While Lily was with the August and while she learned about the Black Madonna she gained strength and courage. She used her new attributes of strength and courage when T. Ray tried to take her home, “ He walked straight toward me and reached for my arm…I jerked away” (Kidd 294). It took Lily a lot of courage to do this because she new that by doing that she was disrespecting him and since he didn’t like to be disrespected, he would hit her and he did. Knowing the harsh consequences and still jerk away Lily had to use a lot of courage; courage she gained from the Black Madonna, her religion.(Brian)