In the novel "The Secret Life of Bees" how did Deborah leaving affect T. Ray?

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ladyvols1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lily's daddy, T.Ray was "ornery year-round." "T. Ray shows affection only to his hunting dog, Snout. When T. Ray catches up to Lily in Tiburon, she realizes he loved her mother and was embittered by losing her. Facing a daughter who has come to resemble her mother, T. Ray briefly hallucinates that she is Deborah. He comes to his senses but is unrepentant in his bitterness. Lily tries to construe his consent to let her stay in Tiburon with August and Rosaleen as a last, unprecedented act of kindness toward her.."  T.Ray was angry, bitter, and mean after he lost his wife. He caught her trying to leave again, and "they were yelling and fighting. She grabbed a gun from inside the closet, but he took it away from her.  It happened so fast it gets mixed up in my brain."  Deborah didn't want to marry T. Ray, but she got pregnant so they got married.  T. Ray was an ex military man who believed that Deborah had no right to leave him.  Lily picked up the gun and her mother was accidentally shot.  T. Ray became meaner and punished Lily often.  I always felt that this was in someway his way of getting back at Lily for accidently shooting Deborah.  He was an abusive man and he didn't respect women above what they should be doing for him as the man of the house.  At one time he had treated Deborah like a princess, but that was long gone by the time she tried to leave him.

litchick2011 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

He became angry, bitter, and depressed.  Though we do not see the loving side of T. Ray, he was passionately in love with Deborah. It is as though with Deborah's departure, he became completely void of love, having absolutely none left to give to his daughter.  He insulted Lily for trying to make herself better through reading and cruelly punished her by making her kneel on grits.  He could afford no fatherly love to a girl who was a constant reminder of his wife. 

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The Secret Life of Bees

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