illustration of the back of main character Lily Owens's head with a honeycomb background

The Secret Life of Bees

by Sue Monk Kidd

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What are two examples of foreshadowing in The Secret Life of Bees?

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One example of foreshadowing in Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees shows itself within the first few pages. Lily is fascinated by bees that mysteriously appear in her bedroom. She first sees them buzzing around and landing on her wall map, and she decides to catch several of them in a mason jar. When she later opens the lid, the bees simply fly out; this helps Lily realize that she has the power to leave the abuse of T-Ray if she chooses. These early bee interactions foreshadow that these tiny creatures will become an important part of her future. This comes to pass as a result of her living with the Boatwrights and helping out on the farm with honey harvesting.

A second point of foreshadowing occurs when August explains the sad situation surrounding the suicide of May’s twin, April. August explains that May never fully recovered from April’s self-drowning when they were children; this enlightens readers about the trauma behind May’s mental instability and bipolar tendencies. Readers are shown the gravity of May’s situation after multiple occasions where she breaks down at seemingly tiny incidents. After May learns about Zach’s wrongful imprisonment, a weight too heavy for her to carry, she, too, drowns herself, which fulfills this second example of foreshadowing.

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