Identify the significance of the Black Madonna in The Secret Life of Bees. What does she symbolize?

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It is important to realise how the Black Madonna has a number of different meanings in this novel and is therefore a very important symbol. Most prominently, however, it is clear that the Black Madonna acts as a symbol of motherhood and the various surrogate mothers that Lily finds during the course of her novel. Note how Lily takes a picture of the Black Madonna with her on her travels, as it was a possession of her mother. In a sense, the picture is a symbol of Lily's mother, and is what guides her to finding her surrogate mother, August,...

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