The Secret Life of Bees

How does having her mother's things and knowing the whole story effect Lily ?

Chapter 14

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Lily stays to herself after receiving her mother’s belongings. When she puts the hatbox under her bed, Lily finds a pile of mouse bones. She carries the bones around with her for a reason she does not know. Lily obsesses over where her mother may have stepped, may have sat, may have ate… She grieves intensely, and the Boatwrights give her time to soak in her pain.

Lily receives additional tokens of her mother’s presence at the house. When August presents Lily with her mother’s hairbrush with a hair attached, Lily’s hardened exterior falls apart, and her soft, tender, vulnerable side is exposed. Despite Lily’s varying feelings about her mother, witnessing an actual part of her body brings new, even stronger feelings into Lily’s heart. Then, when Lily receives the photo of Lily and her mother, her feelings toward her mother completely change. The anger begins to subside, and she begins to feel grief and true loss, for she has seen the sign of motherly love she has been looking for.

Lily even carries the mouse bones, which could be old enough to be from a mouse her mother once saw. It is true that, as Lily says, sometimes people just need something to take care of. At different points in the novel, Lily has been taken care of by various people. Yet, she was rarely given the opportunity to look after others.