What is the rising action, falling action and climax in The Secret Life of Bees?

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anthonda49 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the rising action of the story, we learn of Lily's mother's death as viewed through the eyes of a four year old child. Lily's miserable life with her father leads her to rely on Rosaleen, her black cook/housekeeper/nanny, for the only friendship and affection in her life. Lily accompanies Rosaleen to town so Rosaleen can register to vote soon after the passage of the Civil Rights Act. An encounter with three racist white men leaves Lily and Rosaleen in jail. After Lily is released, Rosaleen suffers another beating at the hands of the bigots. Lily breaks her out of the hospital where the jailer sends her for treatment of her beating injuries, and they run away to the only place associated with her mother, Tiburon, South Carolina. There the two women are taken in by the Calendar sisters to help with beekeeping and daily chores. Lily knows there is a connection between the sisters and her mother, but she bides her time waiting for the right moment to ask the oldest sister, August, about her mother Deborah. Zach is a young man who helps with the bees, and Lily gradually begins to fall in love with him despite their different races. Zach is arrested and jailed for an incident in which he had no part, but he would not tell the officers what really happened. May commits suicide, no longer able to shoulder the miseries of the world. Lily finally opens up to August and asks about her mother, and August relates the whole story.The climax occurs when T.Ray tracks down his runaway daughter and tries to drag her back home. The Calendar sisters side with Lily. The falling action occurs after T. Ray leaves without Lily, and the Calendar sisters take her and Rosaleen in permanently. Lily will attend school there, and Rosaleen finally registers to vote.

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The Secret Life of Bees

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