The Secret Life of Bees

chap 4

what truths and what lies does Lily say to August? how do the sisters react to her story?

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Lily pretends that she is visiting in search of honey. May and June get August, who impresses Lily as “a mix of mighty and humble all in one.” Lily gets the impression from August that she already knows everything about her.

Lily now tells August that she and Rosaleen ran away from home and had nowhere to go. August offers that Rosaleen and Lily may stay at the Boatwright house until they find a place to live. June seems to protest the arrangement, but August ignores her. Lily asks why all of the Boatwright sisters are named after months. May explains that their mother loved the spring and summer—and there is a fourth Boatwright sister, April, who died when they were young. May’s response to this discussion is to leave the room, singing “Oh Susannah.”

Lily tells the Boatwrights that both of her parents have died and that she was left without any family. She says that Rosaleen was the family housekeeper and that the two of them are on their way to Virginia to stay with Lily’s aunt. August replies that she is also from Virginia, and she discusses the terms of Lily’s and Rosaleen’s stay. Rosaleen will help May in the house, and Lily will assist with the beekeeping. Lily is sure that August can see right through her lies.