Racism In Sue Monk Kidd's 'The Secret Life Of Bees'

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Josh Beatty Mrs. Moore Honors English 10 April 28th, 2011 The majority of people have been picked on or teased at some point in their life. Racism in the 1960’s was an extreme form of bullying. The civil rights movement was occurring in this time. The Secret Life of Bees happens during this hard, and wonderful, time for African Americans, specifically 1964, wonderful because they were getting their rights as an American citizen. In the book, Rosaleen, an African American housekeeper and nanny, gets upset with the bullying and the overpowering of the whites and acts out; this acting out gets her put in jail. Since Rosaleen is a main character, the reader’s heart goes out to her and becomes emotionally involved with the novel. Kidd grasping…show more content…
So far in this book Kidd has very successfully added depth and emotion on almost every page. The next example of this is on page 38. T-Ray says that he would not be surprised if Rosaleen was killed for her acting out in chapter 1. When I read him saying that I was immediately worried for Rosaleen. Angry whites in the South during this period of time would go to any measure to satisfy their hate for an individual of a different race. Rosaleen really changes during this trial; she becomes bitter towards whites, even towards Lily, whom she is close to. Continuing on page 52 Rosaleen learns about the black Madonna. “If Jesus’ mother is black, how come we only know about the white Mary?” The quote is what Rosaleen was thinking when she saw the picture Lily had found in her mother’s items. This is not just a picture of a black version of Mary; it is a picture of the African American’s gaining their rightful freedoms in 1964. The black Madonna is a main theme in The Secret Life of Bees and makes appearances in the book multiple times. In the following quote Rosaleen is looking at the newspaper to see if she is in it for being wanted when she sees an interesting headline. “A motel in Jackson, Mississippi closed down rather to accept Negro guests.” (Kidd 66) This shows how the whites are reacting to the new desegregation law. The headline informs the reader more of the situation outside of the two small towns Rosaleen is in. The African American’s were in for a tough
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