What is the characterizaiton, dialect, regionalism, verbal irony, Dramatic irony and irony of situation in The Secret life of bees

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kmcappello eNotes educator| Certified Educator
This is quite a broad subject, so I will give you an example of each of the literary terms you mentioned. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd tells the story of Lily Owens, a young girl growing up in the racially charged South during the 1960's. Lily is characterized by her defiance, which is surprising considering the abuse she suffers at the hands of her father. Lily's defiance can be found at many times during the story; for instance, when her nanny, a black woman named Rosaleen, is thrown in jail for spitting on a white man, Lily breaks her out and helps her escape. Most of the dialogue in the book is written in dialect, which means that it is written how a person would speak it rather than in grammatically correct sentences. This device is used to reflect regional aspects of speech such as accent. Dialect can be seen as a type of regionalism, as well as setting. The book's main setting is the small town of Tiburon, South Carolina. Many aspects of southern life are detailed, both the good and the bad. For example, the scene where Zach Taylor is beaten for trying to go to the movies with Lily recalls how tense and dangerous the sixties were for African Americans. Dramatic irony occurs when the audience is aware of something the character is not. If we read carefully, we can understand why Rosaleen is crying as she watches Lyndon B. Johnson on the televsion, even though Lily has no clue why. Situational irony occurs when an outcome is different than expected. It was hard to find an example of this in the novel, but this could be close enough: Lily's relationship with June goes from strained and unfriendly to suddenly loving near the end of the book. Verbal irony is a figure of speech, something that is meant to mean something else. When August speaks to Lily about beekeeping, it is apparent that she is really speaking about relationships between people.
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The Secret Life of Bees

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