What is the main idea of "The Secret Life Of Bees?"

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ladyvols1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the “Secret Life of Bees,” Lily Owens doesn't have much incentive to hang around home. Her father beats her, her mother is dead, and Rosealeen is jailed and beaten by racists as she registers to vote. Surrounded daily by bees swarming in her honey-filled bedroom wall, she captures some of them to prove to her neglectful father that there is a problem in her room. One day she opens the jar to let the bees fly free, and she feels a voice inside saying, "Lily, your jar is open." So,  her adventure begins. Rescuing Rosaleen, they run away. Following clues from items left behind by her mother, Lily ends up in a little pink house in Tiburton, South Carolina, where she finds out who her mother was, what life is all about, and where true strength and courage lie. She finds friendship, love, support, and some women who are more her mother than her mother had ever been. The recurrent theme of bees and honey lead Lily to appreciate nature and the beauty of simplicity and reality. The main idea is the strength of women, the weakness, and the ability in all of us to grow and change. The themes of the novel are about racism, the strength of a community of women, nature, and the importance we place on rituals.

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The Secret Life of Bees

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