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

The Secret Life of Bees

by Sue Monk Kidd

Start Free Trial

How do the words "brave" and "motherly" describe August in The Secret Life of Bees?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

August is brave and motherly for many reasons.  She takes in Lily and Rosaleen and mothers them as though they were her own children.  She mothers her sisters and Zeke, too. She even mothers the bees by loving them.  She mothered Deborah when she took care of Deborah when Deborah was young and mothered her again when Deborah left T. Ray. SHe mothers the Daughters of Mary, too. In fact, August really is the queen bee of the story, and her "hive" could not manage without her.  Her bravery is shown in many ways.  It is not a dramatic bravery, but a quiet and constant bravery.  She is an African-American woman who runs her own business and owns her own land, which in those days, was a brave and powerful thing to do.  She faces the trials of everyday life and the discrimination and fear present in the Sixties in the rural South.  She faces the bees, which I think is really brave, on a continuing basis, without fear.  There are many examples of August being brave and motherly in the book.  These are just a few! 

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial