The Secret Life of Bees

what does lily's letter to T. Ray do for her? what does her visit with the Madonna do for her? chapter 8

secret life of bees

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That night, Lily writes a letter to T. Ray explaining her disdain for him. She writes an acrostic about how much of a horrible father he is. She then tears up the letter. She goes into the pink house to use the bathroom and then decides to pray to Mary. She asks to know what to do and for help so that Rosaleen can escape her criminal charges. She touches Mary’s heart and proclaims that Mary was her mother. The statue of Mary provided her with a sense of family and belonging. 

It is interesting that Lily chooses to write T. Ray a letter after their failed phone conversation. Being at the lawyer’s office probably gives her a stronger sense that she is again on a path to success, so this is a good time for her to start resolving the issues that have weighed her down in the past. Unfortunately, T. Ray has not changed, but Lily has. She feels comfortable enough with her power of written expression to write down how she feels about him. When she rips up the letter, she is not signaling dissatisfaction with her expressive ability so much as realizing that the letter was her way of coping with the bad conversation—writing the letter for her own sake.