The Secret Life of Bees

The Role of Nature in The Secret Life of Bees

In The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, Lily feels lost without a mother to lead her step by step through life. However, with her escape to Tiburon, Lily finally finds support and consolation through new experiences and exposures. Specifically, Lily is able to discover an alternative mother figure: nature. Unlike her mother, nature is not a fleeting presence or a mere wisp of a memory. Lily finds inner peace and comfort in nature, since it is always present and constantly renewing itself, a trait that Lily never found in her mother.

Deborah is absent through most of Lily’s life, a fleeting figure. Lily asks T-Ray about her mother and is disappointed: “I did manage to get a few scraps of information from him… my mother was buried in Virginia where her people came from. I got worked up at that, thinking I’d found a grandmother. No, he tells me, my mother was an only child whose mother died four years ago” (13). Lily’s lack of a grandmother further emphasizes her mother’s absence, since even the closest family connections to Deborah are nonexistent. Lily comments about missing her mother, “The oddest things caused me to miss her. Like training bras. Who was I going to ask about that?” (13). For a long time, Lily has not had...

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