1) In The Secret Life of Bees, Lily has never been able to recover from her mother's death and her unexplained obsession with bees- real or imagined - drives her search for meaning and acceptance:
The queen, ... is the unifying force of the community; if she is removed from the hive, the workers very quickly sense her absence. After a few hours, ... they show unmistakable signs of queenlessness.
This first quote reflects Lily's feelings as she carries the burden of her mother's death, even now, at age fourteen, some ten years later. The queen bee is the dominant female in the hive and the "worker" bees fiercely protect her. Lily feels her own "queenlessness."
2) Rosaleen, Lily's carer, is arrested for standing up for herself after being racially insulted. This quote prepares the reader for Lily's decision to help Rosaleen escape so they can both search for answers:
On leaving the old nest, the swarm normally flies only a few metres and settles. Scout bees look for a suitable place to...
(The entire section contains 612 words.)