How does the author interweave an understanding of the life of a bee into the plot of the novel?

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lynnebh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The bees are an important motif in this novel. They are a symbol that occurs throughout the novel and represents Lily’s life. In the beginning of the novel, imaginary bees come to her room and give her a signal that she should leave T. Ray. She follows the trail of the honey label to Tiburon and discovers the truth about her mother. In Tiburon, she lives in the honey house and becomes a beekeeper. She tells August that one of her favorite things is bees. The bees are present for every important decision that Lily must make in the novel. She licks honey from Zach’s finger and realizes she is in love with him. When the bees are resting on her body, she realizes she loves August.

The Boatright family is like a hive of bees. They have a “queen” bee that cares for the other bees. They are a female community that helps Lily understand that she is cared for and nurtured. They help Lily discover who she is. Although in the beginning of the novel, Rosaleen tells Lily that bees are an omen of death, they become an omen of life for Lily in the end.

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The Secret Life of Bees

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