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 does May want to celebrate in chapter 8 of The Secret Life of Bees?

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In chapter eight, May is celebrating five days since she visited her wailing wall. May is very sensitive, and little disappointments or stresses feel like great tragedies to her. She visits a wall outside where she can write what is bothering her on a little slip of paper and stick it in the wall. It helps her to ease the pain of whatever is bothering her. While they are eating a celebratory lunch, in honor of May not getting upset for five days, Zach brings up the subject of a movie star coming to town with a black girl and bringing her into the white section of the movie theater, which has the town all stirred up and upset. Zach is going to head into town, and Lily asks to go with him. August spills her tea at this point because the townspeople are already worked up over a race issue, and tensions in town are running high. It could be dangerous if people were out protesting or something, and August doesn’t really want Lily there. And if Lily went with Zach, she would be showing up in town with a black boy, and that might attract some unwanted prejudice and cause trouble. 

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