How did Lily's thoughts mature in her perception of her mother in The Secret Life of Bees?

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anthonda49 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Young children tend to see (perceive) things as either good or bad. They are not able to comprehend the gray areas between the two. Lily's mother died of a gunshot wound when Lily was only four. Her memories of the shooting were confused and filled with the guilt of her picking up the gun and it going off. Later, Lily had frequent daydreams about a loving mother and her subsequent motherly actions. When her mood was bad (after her father told her that mom had deserted her), she would think the worst of her mother. Until Lily was able to open up to August, she never knew the reasons her mother left. As August shows Lily a hatbox of possessions her mother had left behind and relates the events leading up to her mother's death, Lily is now able to understand her mother's actions. Since Lily is now experiencing the first stirrings of love in her relationship with Zach, her maturity has ripened to the point that she understands her mother's motives. Perhaps she will even forgive herself for the tragic accident that has marred her life.

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The Secret Life of Bees

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