Use Of Pain In Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life Of Bees

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A child may feel that a stubbed toe on the playground is the worst pain in their life, while a widow attending her husband’s funeral feels emotional pain. On the other hand, both types of pain may be felt at the same time. People experience pain everyday, and often for different reasons. Sue Monk Kidd, author of The Secret Life of Bees, includes several types of literary devices in her novel. In order to advance the storyline and the personalities of the characters, Kidd incorporates indirect characterization, symbolism, and allusions. The application of these three literary devices identify different types of suffering the Rosaleen, Lily, and May endure.

Kidd applies indirect characterization to Rosaleen Daise to demonstrate the racial source of suffering Rosaleen experienced. Similar to the widow losing her husband, the pain is not always physical, but emotional as well. Rosaleen is
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Kidd alludes to a sacred place, the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, to portray the extent of May’s suffering. For instance, August explained to Lily that May feels the sorrows of the world more acutely than most people. June and August built a wall for her: “‘Like they have in Jerusalem. The Jewish people go there to mourn. It’s a way for them to deal with their suffering, See, they write their prayers on scraps of paper and tuck them in the wall’” (97). To explain, the comparison of May’s wall to the Wailing Wall displays her magnified sensitivity to pain unconnected to her personal life. After the death of her twin, May experienced the sorrows of others more intensely, as if they were her own. At the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, it is a tradition to place a note containing prayers in the wall. Replicating the tradition, May adopted this method of coping with her suffering. In order to portray May’s vast empathy for the sorrows of the world, Kidd alludes to the Wailing Wall in comparison to May’s
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