In the novel Secret Life of Bees, which character is the most caring, May, Rosaleen, August or Neil, and why?

Expert Answers
sarahc418 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When I read the book, I thought the most caring character was August. She takes on the responsibility of being a mother-figure to her sisters, to her neighbors and especially to the protagonist Lily. Lily finds refuge in the Boatwright sisters' home allowing her time to find herself and discover who her mother was.

August takes it upon herself to nurture Lily teaching her about the family business of bee-keeping. In the end of the story, August sits down with Lily and reveals many things about Lily's mother and her own struggle to be a good mother. August says to Lily, "There is nothing perfect ... There is only life." It is through this statement, that seems harsh, that August conveys some deep comfort to Lily who has just realized that her mother abandoned her as an infant. August notes that Lily's perfect conception of her mother was false and that it is okay to mourn the loss of that dream. But she also conveys that Lily was deeply loved by her mother, and, although it isn't perfection, it is truth. The wisdom behind August's words joined by her unwavering sympathy and compassion make her, in my opinion, the most caring character in the novel.