Character Analysis Of Lily In The Secret Life Of Bees

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Throughout The Secret Life of Bees, Lily, the main character of the novel, undergoes many important changes. These changes occur as she grows in her understanding of herself and the world that surrounds her. As Lily travels deeper into the South and is confronted more frequently with racism, her understanding and hatred for racism grow. In addition, Lily comes to terms with the death and absence of her mother. Lily finds peace within herself by seeking other means to fill the void left by her mother’s death and becoming spiritually linked with Our Lady Chains. As Lily transforms, her understanding is sometimes complicated but often strengthened by various external factors. One major change that Lily undergoes throughout the duration of the…show more content…
No matter what, Zach has to disregard the consequences in order to stand up for himself. Throughout the duration of Lily’s stay with the calendar sisters, her hatred for racism grows as she is directly and more frequently confronted with it. “It washed over me for the first time in my life just how much importance the world had ascribed to skin pigment... I was sick of it” (pp. 154-155). Upon hearing about the chaos in town due to the mention of a white actor bringing a black woman to integrate the movie theater, Lily expresses her hatred for racism. Prior to this, Lily was also faced with prejudice towards herself, something she had never experienced. “I am not one of you, I thought” (p. 111). During Lily’s first spiritual encounter, she reached out her hand to touch the black Mary, but August stopped playing the cello abruptly. Lily knew it was because of her color. In addition, Lily was being faced with racism from other white people in Tiburon. “‘You’re staying in her house?’ she said” (p.157). Miss Lacy, Clayton Forrest’s secretary was appalled at the thought of a white girl staying with black women, referring to August as her. “‘I’m just saying it’s not natural, that you shouldn’t be ...well, lowering yourself’” (p. 198). Lily’s encounters with racism towards herself from black people and from white people as well, complicate Lily’s life. However, because of these experiences or external factors, Lily is forced to analyze her feelings towards them. By doing this, she is able to recognize her hatred and disgust for racism. Another growth that takes place in Lily’s life involves her coping with the death/absence of her mother. One way Lily does so is by finding means to try to replace what she feels is missing. In the beginning of the novel, Lily shares her limited memories of her mother and describes the few possessions she has of hers. “...One time I stuffed the gloves with cotton

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