The Secret Life of Bees Essay

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Irrationality of racism in “The Secret Life of Bees” The irrationality of racism is displayed throughout Sue Kidd’s “The Secret Life of Bees”. Kidd displays all the characters with dignity. She demonstrates the different personalities of whites and blacks during this time. When Rosaleen goes to vote she is harassed for no reason by white men. Lily feels that all blacks are like Rosaleen; uneducated and laborers. Through experiences like these throughout the book we see what it was truly like to live in the south and how children were exposed to racism. When Lily meets the Boatwright’s her stereotypes diminish and she begins to overcome her own racism. Kidd portrays the characters as what we would find in real life during the time of the Civil Rights act and ultimately demonstrates the struggles and prejudice that African Americans faced. The struggle of racism and overcoming it is seen throughout the novel. We see Lily begin to fall in love with a black boy named Zach who lives with the Boatwright’s. The discrimination and “intensifying racial unrest (Penguin 1), of their time keeps Lily from pursuing her feelings at first. Lily struggles with her own stereotypes and learns to overcome them by “finding healing and hope among friends who don’t judge you…” (Smith 2). Lily believes all African Americans are uneducated and laborers like Rosaleen. The intelligence of August surprises Lily and she begins to see August as more of a motherly role to look up to. Zach dreams of being a lawyer even though he is black. He tells Lily about his plans is chapter 7 “I’ve just never heard of a Negro lawyer, that’s all. You’ve got to hear of these things before you can imagine them.”-“Bullshit. You gotta imagine what’s never been.” (Kidd). Lily doesn’t want to discourage him but she like most others has never heard of a black lawyer

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