Secret Life Of Bees Maturity

1469 Words6 Pages
“‘People can start out one way, and by the time life gets through with them they end up completely different’” (Kidd 293). This quote from August Boatwright perfectly encompasses what happens to Lily during The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. All throughout the novel, the increased maturity of Lily’s character is very noticeable. At the beginning of the book, Lily, a 14-year-old white girl who is living in the South in the 1960’s, accepts segregation without questioning it. By the end, her perspective on life and others changes to reflect a more sophisticated woman. Through characterization, Lily matures as a person because she learns how to face conflicts as an adult and treat people in a grown-up way.
Throughout The Secret Life of
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In exactly fifty pages, Lily goes from, “My mother had left me. I hate her” (Kidd 251) to “… I have forgiven us both…” (Kidd 301). For the first thirteen of fourteen chapters, Lily hates her mother, and she makes this very clear. She directly tells August: “My mother had left me. I hate her” (Kidd 251). It’s not until August explains that Lily’s mother, Deborah, “... was practically skin and bone… And all she did was cry for a week,” that Lily starts to understand why she had to leave: she was being treated abusively by T. Ray (Kidd 252). Once Lily has this information, she begins the healing and forgiving process. This process is also helped along by Lily finally knowing the full truth about her mother’s mysterious death. The fact that Lily physically chases T. Ray as he’s about to leave the Boatwright’s house shows that she is ready to know, once and for all, the truth about her mother’s death. She is prepared for the possibility that she did in fact kill her mother. By allowing herself to know the truth, she forgives herself and her mother for leaving. She even says, “I guess I have forgiven us both, although sometimes in the night my dreams will take me back to the sadness, and I have to wake up and forgive us again” (Kidd 301). Progress in the process of Lily forgiving herself and her mom is clearly shown. Overall, she has condoned the actions of her mother, but still has little “flashbacks” or moments of weakness where she has to forgive
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