Secret Life of Bees

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The devastating loss of a mother at a young age can drastically affect a girl’s life; it can impact the way she interacts with others, the way she thinks, and how she handles herself emotionally. In The Secret Life of Bees, written by Sue Monk Kidd, the main character, Lily Owens, loses her mother at the age of four. She copes with the after effect: trying to grow up on her own, with little to no parental influence. During her journey to Tiburon, South Carolina, with her caregiver, Rosaleen, she finds comfort and support in the family of women she meets. Throughout the novel, Lily matures and adapts to her new life evidenced by the inspiration she receives from the Black Mary and Calendar Sisters. The statue of the Black Mary motivates Lily to become more comfortable in the Boatwright home. While living with the three sisters, Lily begins to realize that growing up takes time and she turns to prayer in order to mature and have a deeper connection with her birthmother, Deborah, who the statue originally belonged to. The Black Mary also provides structure to her life. Ever since she joined praying with both the sisters and Rosaleen, Lily has gained time to focus on her emotions and thoughts. This structure provides a routine that helps Lily get organized, a trait usually found in a mature adult. Lily doesn’t only have spiritual and emotional connections to the statue, but a physical connection as well supported by when Lily says, “I reached out and traced Black Mary’s heart with my finger” (164). Lily is clearly able to touch the statue, which molds a physical connection that she never had with her mother. The act of worshipping the Black Mary with those around her gives her a sense of comfort and belonging. Due to the fact that Tiburon is an unfamiliar place, Lily acts immature and naïve, yet prayer makes her realize that others can’t replace her mother, but act as

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