Environment in Secret Life of Bees

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Setting and Character Development in “The Secret Life of Bees” Where we come from and where we are determining our sense of self, and our sense of the life we live. Our environment makes us who we are, and sometimes to change, we must change our surroundings. In Sue Monk Kidd’s novel, The Secret Life of Bees, she portrays Lily’s coming of age through the use of setting as she transitions from the harsh and abusive environment while living with her father, to the loving, nurturing environment provided by the Boatwright sisters on their honey farm. Children of constant abuse are subject to depression, self-confidence issues, and other severe mental issues later in life. Lily was a victim of abuse and neglect at the hand of her father T. Ray. She was alone, and her father made no attempt at trying to care for her. All T. Ray ever did was yell, hit, and punish Lily for no apparent reason. One night she went outside to lay in the moonlight with her shirt unbuttoned in an attempt to get away from everything and feel a little bit of freedom in her life. Her father caught in the act and without even asking Lily what happened told her, “You act no better than a slut” (24). He then proceeded to, “[Pour] a pound of grits the size of an anthill onto the pine floor” and told Lily, “Get over here and kneel down.” (24). The ramifications of a parent, especially a father figure to call their kid a slut causes so much emotional damage. Not only did her father ignore Lily, which also added to her trust issues, she developed self confidence and self image issues due to this. She only saw herself as an inadequate woman, and never as a beautiful, intelligent, woman who deserved better than she had. Not only did Lily carry around her self-image issues, but also the scarring of physical abuse she had to endure. Due to T. Ray’s lack of proper parenting, the loss of her mother at such a
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