The Truth About The Secret Life of Bees

November 3, 2020 by Essay Writer

In the novel, The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd, we see many different sides of each character. Whether it’s them sharing a personal secret or turning into a new person, everyone is complex. A common theme in this novel is that there is more than what meets the eye. Everyone has something to uncover. Whether we directly notice it, or it gradually comes out throughout the novel, every character contains a thrilling secret or personal experience that changed them as a character in the novel, or in the past. One of the characters that we watch unfold is T. Ray. His journey is a very surprising one.

We first meet him as an abusive father. He is cold towards his daughter and seems mad at the world. Even, though he stays like this throughout the novel, we learn many things about T. Ray that might have caused this behavior. At first, T. Ray would scream things like, “‘Get in your goddamned room!’” (Kidd 7). We also see this when he makes Lily kneel on grits. Lily describes her knees after kneeling on the grits as “swollen with hundreds of red welts, pinprick bruises that would grow into a blue stubble” (Kidd 25). Later on in the novel, we learn that T. Ray had his heart broken, by the only person he loved. On top of that, that one person he has loved, died when trying to leave him. This would break anyone. T. Ray is constantly reminded of his wife when he looks at Lily, and that must be painful. T. Ray tried to take Lily home and accidentally called her “Deborah”. T. Ray is lonely and broken. Another big character that has more than one side to them is May. May seems so joyful and full of life when she welcomes Lily and Rosaleen into her house. She was always cooking for everyone, and just in general, May had a good heart. Everyone loved May. She always tried her best to please everyone. Every now and then, May had her moments. Don’t we all? We never knew how these episodes actually affected her. She always kept a bright smile. Deep down, May was not happy. Everything we had perceived from her, was all just a mask. May was hurting. Towards the end of the novel, May committed suicide. This was a huge surprise to all of us because we never thought all this happiness was just truly hiding her sorrow. When August finds her suicide note is says, “I’m tired of carrying the weight of the world. I’m just going to lay it down now” (Kidd 210). May did not think she was just carrying her sorrow, but everyone’s else too. No one ever knew. The last character that unveils a truth that we did not see coming was June. June seemed like a strict parent at first. We thought that there was no reason for her to act like this.

Lily thought that June wanted nothing to do with her. Though June may have been a little on edge about strangers sleeping in her house, we learn that June has also had her heart broken. June does not want to marry Neil, not because she is trying to be rude, but she is afraid to love. June’s situation is similar to T. Ray’s. June was left at the altar. She refuses to get married. We know this has been holding June back from Neil, but it might also be causing her bad attitude. Once June says yes to Neil, everything about her changes. Lily describes this as she says, “The only time I saw June was when Neil came over, which was every single day. She would come out wearing hoop earrings, and they’d go off, taking long car rides in his car, which, she said, did her a world of good” (Kidd 215). This is not the June we had experienced before. June seems so light and happy. Now that her secret had been unleashed, she had changed. In conclusion, there are many more characters that portray change, complexity, and truth. Each character in The Secret Life of Bees has gone through something that shaped who they are. I think we can all relate to this as individuals. We all keep things away from the world, but when we open up, everything feels much better. I think we can look in the mirror and confirm that there is really more to us than what meets the eye.

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