The Secret Life of Bees

What were may and junes talents?


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May Boatwright

May, August's and June's sister, also grew up with a twin sister named April. When the two of them were small, May would duplicate April's symptoms. If April got a fat lip, May's lip would swell as well. April suffered great depression, and when she turned fifteen, she killed herself. As she grew older, May's empathy grew to encompass the struggles and pain of the world at large. May found great sadness in the pain of others. When an unpleasant or sad topic would be brought up in a room, she would hum, "Oh Susannah" and leave. She built a wailing wall as a catharsis for her pain, but she remained unable to bear the weight of the world. She ultimately took her own life as well.

June Boatwright

June is August's and May's sister, the quietest of the three. June worked as a teacher for a while and then worked in a morgue. She then began playing the cello to comfort people as they die. At the beginning of Lily's stay at the Boatwright house, June resented her because she had resented Deborah. June did not like August working in a white household. Yet, June came to love Lily. June also is in love with Neil but refuses to accept his marriage proposal for most of the novel. She was left at the altar by her first fiancee and therefore is nervous about entering into a marriage agreement again. Yet, eventually, after May's death, she is convinced to marry Neil.