The Secret Life of Bees

the secret life of bees

who is lily owenes

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Lily, the novel's narrator, is also the story's protagonist. Lily begins the novel at age fourteen, a sad girl who has experienced far more than most have at her age. She lives in Sylvan, South Carolina, with her father, T. Ray, and her housekeeper, Rosaleen. Lily's mother died when she was just four years old, and Lily has a confusing memory about the day that she died. As far as Lily remembers, she shot her mother by accident, which is never denied throughout the novel. She is ridden by guilt, loss, and confusion about her mother. T. Ray tells Lily that her mother, Deborah, actually left them. Lily disagrees and runs away. She and Rosaleen escape to Tiburon, South Carolina, because Lily found this city scratched into her mother's picture of a black Mary. Using the black Mary picture, Lily and Rosaleen end up at the Boatwrights' house, the owners of the Black Madonna Honey company. Lily lies about her background in order not to alarm the Boatwrights. The Boatwright sisters welcome Lily and Rosaleen to stay with them, provided that Lily helps with the honey processes. Lily loves her life in Tiburon, keeping bees, and keeping her life a secret. While living with the Boatwrights, she meets a black boy named Zach, with whom she falls in love. Zach is the first black boy Lily has been attracted to, and eventually he kisses her. Lily realizes that she must come clean to August Boatwright about her background, so she explains everything about her past. In addition, August explains that Lily's mother had stayed at the Boatwright house long ago as well. Lily learns the whole story of her mother's past, and she is filled with anger, pity, and grief. She eventually comes to terms with her feelings. Finally, T. Ray comes to the Boatwrights' house to take Lily back to Sylvan. Lily persuades him to let her stay with the Boatwrights, with whom she realizes she has many mothe