The Secret Life Of Bees Analysis

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The novel The Secret Life of Bees, which was written by author Sue Monk Kidd, is read every day by students around the country searching for a realistic depiction of life during the Civil Rights Era. Kidd was raised in Georgia, but now resides in Charleston, South Carolina where she continues to write novels, such as The Secret Life of Bees, that bring up controversial issues and raise awareness of sensitive topics. The story is set in a small town in South Carolina, where Lily Owens, a young girl who is being raised by only her father and her black nanny, is struggling with self-identity and the difficulty of dealing with abusive family relationships. Many parents, teachers, and school officials are concerned with the effects that books can…show more content…
The story is set in the Tiburon, South Carolina in the 1960s, the most important years of the Civil Rights Movement. South Carolina was filled with white supremacists and children were being taught to loathe others due to the color of their skin. The novel raises the subject of segregation and racism through the interactions between white characters and characters of color including the interactions between Rosaleen and and the white men in town, and between Lily and Zach. As Lily and and Rosaleen walk into town, Rosaleen finds herself being harassed by some of the town’s most hateful men, “He looked up and saw us, Rosaleen fanning and shuffling, swaying side to side. ‘Well, look what we got coming here,’ he called out. ‘Where’re you going, nigger?” (Kidd 31). The book brings attention to the racial slurs, segregation, and all other adversity that people of color faced at this time through characters such as Rosaleen who stood up for what she believed in. In the article ‘Racial Segregation’ , it states “The first Jim Crow laws, imposing racial segregation on railway trains and trams, were enacted in Tennessee in 1875. Other Southern states quickly followed this precedent and soon racial segregation was legally enforced across the South in public facilities such as hospitals, prisons, cemeteries and, perhaps most significantly, in schools. Such segregation was endorsed by two rulings of the US Supreme Court” (Valeri). The South was a difficult place to live for people of color, but the Boatwright sisters broke the chain of hate and helped Lily understand the real message of life, which was loving others despite their outward appearance. Rather than bringing shame to the topic of racism, the novel elevates the idea that the color of one’s skin does not define one’s
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