Many students can relate to an argument they might have had with their parents about clothing and peer-pressure. How does this relate to Lily's experiences in Sue Monk Kidd's novel The Secret Life...

Many students can relate to an argument they might have had with their parents about clothing and peer-pressure. How does this relate to Lily's experiences in Sue Monk Kidd's novel The Secret Life of Bees?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The idea of friction between a child and one's parent lies at the heart of Lily's experiences in The Secret Life of Bees.  Lily has an antagonistic with her father, one who is abusive and neglects his child's needs.  This is how students can easily relate to Lily. She is an outsider in the one realm where she should be an insider.  For many students, this experience is something with which they can empathize.  As students struggle socially with their realities of peer pressure and fashion, they understand what it is like to be an outsider.  In much the same way, Lily's experience prove to be a point to which there can be some connection.  Lily's experiences with her father establishes the basis for growth in her characterization. It is through this level of challenge with her father that enables her to struggle with the reality of being "different."  Lily has to experience the pain of being different as a result of her challenges with her father.  This is an experience that sets her development in motion.  From this alienated being, she has to reclaim a voice that has been silenced.  It is in this regard where her situations with being different and being an outsider can be appreciated by students who are most likely struggling with the same issues in their own lives.

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