Bees in Transit Summary

Summary (Masterpieces of American Literature)

“Bees in Transit: Osage County” reflects Hogan’s interest in the so-called Osage murders, which were researched by the Osage scholar Carol Hunter. Hogan based her first novel, Mean Spirit (1990), on this work. The novel is set in Oklahoma during the 1920’s, soon after the discovery of oil on the allotment lands of the Osage people, and provides a fictionalized account of the lives of Osage landowners who were murdered, most probably for their oil rights. By the novel’s end, the Osage people were abandoning their former town life and the white world, leaving behind the luxuries they had purchased with their oil money. A major theme of the novel is the suffering of the Osage women, some of whom were courted by white men interested only in their land rights and some of whom were murdered outright.

The suffering of the Osage women is also depicted in Hogan’s poem “Bees in Transit: Osage County,” first published in the volume Seeing Through the Sun. This poem begins with the image of “a hundred white bedroom chests/ being driven to the county dump,” a reminder of the possessions that the Osage left behind. Like these white chests, beehives draped in white sheets are transported by truck away from their home and abandoned. “The air is filled with workers/ on strike,” and the cold air meets the smoke of a brush fire. Green Osage oranges fall, “hitting earth/ where dark women, murdered for oil/ under the ground/ still...

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Bees in Transit Bibliography (Masterpieces of American Literature)

Allen, Paula Gunn. The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions. Boston: Beacon Press, 1986.

Anderson, Eric Gary. “Native American Literature, Ecocriticism, and the South: The Inaccessible Worlds of Linda Hogan’s Power.” In South to a New Place: Region, Literature, Culture, edited by Suzanne W. Jones and Sharon Monteith. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2002.

Arnold, Ellen L. “Beginnings Are Everything: The Quest for Origins in Linda Hogan’s Solar Storms.” In Things of the Spirit: Women Writers Constructing Spirituality, edited by Kristina K. Groover. Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 2004.

Balassi, William, John F. Crawford, and Annie O. Eysturoy, eds. This Is About Vision: Interviews with Southwestern Writers. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1990.

Bleck, Melani. “Linda Hogan’s Tribal Imperative: Collapsing Space Through ’Living’ Tribal Traditions and Nature.” Studies in American Indian Literatures: The Journal of the Association for the Study of American Indian Literatures 11 (Winter, 1999): 23-45.

Bonetti, Kay. “Linda Hogan.” In Conversations with American Novelists: The Best Interviews from the “Missouri Review” and the American Audio Prose Library, edited by Kay Bonetti, Greg Michalson, Speer Morgan, Jo Sapp, and Sam Stowers. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1997.

Coltelli, Laura. Winged Words: American Indian Writers Speak. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990.

Cook, Barbara J., ed. From the Center of Tradition: Critical Perspectives on Linda Hogan. Boulder: University of Colorado Press, 2003.

Hegarty, Emily. “Genocide and Extinction in Linda Hogan’s Ecopoetry.” In Ecopoetry: A Critical Introduction, edited by J. Scott Bryson. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2002.

Hogan, Linda. “’A Heart Made Out of Crickets’: An Interview with Linda Hogan.” Interview by Bo Schöler. Journal of Ethnic Studies 16 (Spring, 1988): 107-117.