A Learning Curve Fit to the Era Essay

1175 WordsJan 1, 20135 Pages
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd analyses two of the most prominent types of inequalities felt in 1960s southern United States and the protagonist’s journey in overcoming stereotypes. Lily is a white teenage girl who grows up suffering the consequences of gender discrimination and throughout her journey learns about her own prejudices and how they affect other people. Racial prejudice, prominent in the South at that time, is viewed from her perspective as learns about stereotypes and misconceptions. Lily doesn’t consider herself racist, but throughout the story, discovers that she’s accepted certain prejudices as fact. One of the stereotypes the book bursts is that African Americans and women are lesser than white men. August for example, is intelligent and cultured which according to Lily’s upbringing is a trait specific to white people as she observes on page 78: “I thought [colored women] could be smart, but not as smart as me, me being white. [...] All I could think was August is so intelligent, so cultured, and I was surprised by this. That's what let me know I had some prejudice buried inside me” (Kidd, 78). This is the first instance in The Secret Life of Bees where Lily reexamining her beliefs starts a whole learning curb. The second stereotype the book takes on is that white people are more attractive. Lily admits that she “was shocked over [Zach] being handsome” (Kidd, 116) and then goes on to say that she “could pen a letter to [her] school to be read at opening assembly that would tell them how wrong [they’d] all been” wanting to share her findings with the kids at her school who led her to accept that prejudice. Her character arc is mostly a change in views as she discovers more of the world and becomes more open minded. Her journey not only causes Lily to debunk the myths about racial differences but also to

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