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The Secret Life of Bees

by Sue Monk Kidd

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Were you surprised to learn that T. Ray used to be a different person , that once he truly loved Deborah in The Secret Life of Bees?  

Because of his experience with Deborah, T. Ray became a different person. 3.

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While it may seem surprising that T. Ray was once very different, if you look at his life experiences and the pain he went through, it is more understandable how he got that way. Once, T. Ray adored Deborah, worshiped her, loved her dearly. However, Deborah didn’t want to live that life, the life of a farmer’s wife, secluded alone on a farm. August explains to Lily, “people can start out one way, and by the time life gets through with them they end up completely different” (pg 248). When Deborah left him first emotionally by running away, and then physically by dying, T. Ray became a different person. The anger and pain of losing her turned him into a hard person. Lily understands how this can happen to people because she’s seen it, such as in the boys who put the fish necklace on her, and she even worries that Zach will turn into this type of person after he is arrested. However, she has trouble seeing this in T. Ray, because she’s only ever known him as a hard, cold person. But when he comes to the house to pick her up and bring her home, she understands, “seeing him now, I knew he’d loved Deborah Fontanel, and when she’d left him, he’s sunk into bitterness” (293). 

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