Secret life of bees term paper

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Kidd, Sue Monk. The Secret Life of Bees. New York: Viking, 2002.
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Source Card 2
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\”The Secret Life of Bees.\” Novels for Students. Ed. Ira Mark Milne. Vol. 27. Detroit: Gale, 2008. 226-249. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 7 Nov. 2012.
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Source Card 3
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Publishers Weekly; 11/12/2001, Vol. 248 Issue 46, p33, 1/4p
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Library Journal; 12/1/2001, Vol. 126 Issue 20, p173, 1/6p
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Source Card 5:
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Susan Andersen, Critical Essay on The Secret Life of Bees, in Novels for Students, Gale, Cengage Learning, 2008.
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Note Card 1 Source:2 Paragraph: Author Biography Quote:\”Sue Monk Kidd was born Sue Monk on August 12, 1948, and raised in the small town of Sylvester, Georgia, which served as a model for Sylvan, South Carolina, in The Secret Life of Bees. \”
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Commentary: -she wrote her book based on the knowledge of her town -During 1964 she was in her teens and the book takes place in 1964 and Lily is also in her teens so a lot of the author’s perspective went into the first person narration of the books
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Note Card 2 Source:2 Paragraph: Author Biography Quote:\”Kidd began to read widely in literature and spiritual classics, as well as mythology and psychology. Thomas Merton and Carl Jung are two writers who influenced her in these areas. Her first book, God’s Joyful Surprise, was in the tradition of contemplative spirituality (1988). When the Heart Waits, describing her own spiritual transformation, followed in 1990, and was critically acclaimed. It is this kind of spiritual experience that is woven into her novels.\”
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Commentary: -throughout the book there is much talk of the black mary and her spirit -the main character, Lily, goes through a major spiritiual transformation as did Sue Monk Kidd -this is why spirituality and religion is such a big theme throughout the book
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Note Card 3 Source:2 Paragraph: Author Biography Quote:\”she did not major in English but took a B.S. in nursing in 1970 from Texas Christian University.She worked as a registered nurse in pediatrics and surgery, eventually teaching nursing. She married Sanford Kidd, a theology student, and they had two children, Bob and Ann. While living in South Carolina where her husband was teaching at a liberal arts college. …From there, she took up her old dream of writing fiction and became an accomplished short story writer, studying at Emory and Sewanee and the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference. In 2002, Kidd published her first novel, The Secret Life of Bees, and it stayed on the bestseller lists for over two years. It has sold millions of copies and has been translated into twenty-three languages…She has served on the board for Poets and Writers, Inc., to encourage emerging writers, and has been Writer-in-Residence at the Sophia Institute in Charleston. Selected awards include the Book Sense Book of the Year in paperback, 2004, for The Secret Life of Bees… and the Southeastern Library Association Fiction Award in 2005, for The Secret Life of Bees.\”
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-the fact that she took the time to study nursing but then return back even after having kids to writing showed the immense amount of passion she had for her field -seems like her husband influenced her writing career because he was interested in the liberal arts -she is a very accomplished writer
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Note Card 4 Source:3 Paragraph: Symbolism Quote:\”Honey-sweet but never cloying, this debut by nonfiction author Kidd (The Dance of the Dissident Daughter) features a hive’s worth of appealing female characters\”
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-i absolutely love this description because it describes the book perfectly, it’s sweet and heartwarming but the perfect amount, it’s not all happy times either, it’s very real -the hives of bees symbolize all the characters and their different roles throughout the book
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Note Card 5 Source:1 Paragraph: theme Quote: \”All I had to do was remember the Father’sday card I made for you when I was nine and still hoping for love…I expected it to get propped on your dresser and the next day I find it on the telephone table when you have peeled a peach on top of it, and the skin and pit are stuck to the paper. I have always wanted to you that was DESPICABLE. D — DESPICABLE A — ANGRY D — DUD OF A FATHER D — DISAPPOINTMENT Y — YOKE AROUND MY NECK Writing this… brings me J-O-Y to finally say these things to your face… I felt relief to get all that out of my system, but I had lied about it bringing me joy. I almost wanted to write another letter that I would not send and say I’m sorry.
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-all Lily really wants is her father to love her -she went through so much effort to write a letter to him and plead for his love as a nine year old but even still he reciprocated horribly – nevertheless, her great deal of forgiveness leads her to forgive T.Ray -it’s so hard for people to just forgive one another even after a person apoligizes, but without an apology, Lily’s young, open to change personality allows her to find love in her heart for T.Ray
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Note Card 6 Source:3 Paragraph: Literary Criticism Quote:\”an offbeat plot and a lovely style…Kidd’s success at capturing the moody adolescent girl’s voice makes her ambivalence comprehensible and charming. And it’s deeply satisfying when August teaches Lily to \”find the mother in (herself)\”–a soothing lesson that should charm female readers of all ages.\”
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-As a teenager myself I absolutely loved the style of the book as it was entirely relatable -throughout the book Lily is constantly transforming and she is always open to changing for the better, her ideas and views on the world are being molded one day at a time as are mine – the moodiness and shifts back and forth from one view to another was very relatable -the endless search for a sense of spirituality was extremely relateable as I’m constantly seeking for more spirituality in my llife – I too am constantly searching for the peace and core within me that allows my to just be complacent on my own and still feel strong – the book as an immense amount of lessons and morals that apply directly to my life -overall the book is written with a certain style, charisma, charm, and eloquence like no other that I thoroughly enjoyed
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Note Card 7 Source:1 Paragraph: Symbolism Quote:\”Lily Melissa Owens, your jar is open\”
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-throughout the book, Lily’s character is constantly transforming -it starts with her learning she has the ability to leave her home and gaining the courage to follow her heart and make the trek to Tibourn -once she finally makes it, she is faced with even more ways she can come out of her jar -at the beginning of the book she doesn’t quite realize the prejudice she has within her but by the end she completely transforms -for a while she believed that she didn’t have options but she realizes that she actually has options to become a writer -it takes her a while to come out of her jar and reveal her true story to August but eventually she does and it allows her to feel free at last -throughout the book she is constantly attempting to love the Lady of Mary but when she finally realizes that Mary is actually found in her own heart, she is free and actually is able to stand up to one thing she fears most, T.Ray
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Note Card 8 Source:1 Paragraph: Symbolism Quote:\”‘every bee has a role to play…there’s the queen bee and her attendants’ ‘She has attendants?’ ‘Oh yes, like ladies-in-waiting. They feed her, bathe her…I’ve even seen them caress her…She’s the mother of every bee in the hive, and they all depend on her to keep it going. I don’t care what their job is-they know the queen is their mother. She’s the mother of thousands.’\”
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-clearly, in relation to the hive, as in all the women in the pink house and the daughters, August is the queen bee -August runs the house hold, her word is held higher than others, everyone reports to her, she has the right to give orders as she is the oldest and most maternal -she is the most wise person and she tells all the stories at church -the book also emphasizes the fact that the Lady of Mary is also the mother of many -on a deeper level, August is constantly pushing Lily to find the spirit of Mary within her -Throughout the book you also see the daughters of Mary performing rituals dealing with the Lady of Mary but at the end of the book you realize that the the Lady of Mary symbolizes the mother in all of us. The spirit that keeps us going and allows us to be strong and complacent with ourselves.So essentially when the daughters of Mary perform their rituals through rubbing honey all over her or just praising her, they are really just growing and nurturing the motherly spirit inside themselves
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Note Card 9 Source:1 Paragraph:Character Quote: \”I know that is an absurd thought, but I believe in the goodness of imagination. Sometimes I imagine a package will come from him (T.Ray) at Christmas Time…and in his card he will write, ‘Love, T.Ray.’ He will use the word ‘love,’ and the world will not stop spinning but go right on in its courses, like the river, like the bees, like everything. A person shouldn’t look too far down her nose at absurdities. Look at me. I dived into one absurd thing after another, and here I am in the pink house. I wake up to wonder everyday.\”
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-sometimes in life you have to convince yourself that everything’s going to be okay even when it’s not, that’s exactly what Lily does, this can be perceived as naive but also very mature. Although T.Ray might do these things, Lily convinces herself that these things are true and it helps her get through the day. The same goes for religion and spirituality, it must be shaped and reinforced in order for it to grow strong. -even gthoughin many cases Lily does get dissapointed by the reality of life, she is so strong and forgiving that she is able to forgive those around her and keep moving forward -she learns to trust herself – she trust her instincts and let’s her heart take control. Many people in life keep grudges and this holds them back in life but Lily does not, when it come to loving and forgiving, she is completely open to it. She does this in the case of T.ray, her mom, fleeing her home and going to Tibourn, and loving the lady of mary
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Note Card 10 source:4 paragraph: literary criticism Quote: \” The stunning metaphors and realistic characters are so poignant that they will bring tears to your eyes. Public libraries should purchase multiple copies\”
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-I agree, there was an immense amount of symbolism and metaphors throughout the book that made in it powerful and deep
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Note Card 11 Source:2 paragraph: character Quote:The first person narrator and main character is a rebellious and spirited girl of fourteen in the summer of 1964… Lily is likeable for her honest voice and passionate spiritual searching… she is unusually sensitive to the injustice around her, but she has strength and hope… Though Lily has inherited a bigoted way of life, she is willing to examine it in herself and change. She has a poetic and spiritual way of seeing the beauty around her. Something of an ugly duckling at home in Sylvan, South Carolina, she blossoms at the home of the Boatwright sisters in Tiburon where she runs away.
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– I love the Ugly duckling example -Lily constantly feels like she doesn’t belong in her old home, she struggles as the outcast and feels as if there is something wrong with her -when she goes to Tibourn she is helped by August ,her friends and sisters to find her self through their stories and faith -she opens herself to change and good, she allows her self to transform into a better person and by the end of the book she is much more confident in the person she is
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Note Card12 Source:2 paragraph: character Quote:Lily is smart; her English teacher encourages her to write and read. She keeps journals, making stories of her adventures. Imagination is not for escape for her, but is a means of bringing forth something better in life. As she discusses with Zach, one has to imagine what has never been. This ability is what keeps her from becoming bitter or depressed like her father and mother. Rosaleen tells Lily to quit pretending that the Boatwright home is their home, but because she projects so much of her imagination into living there, it does become their new home.
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-again, it may be perceived as wishful but in my opinion Lily is hopeful and this is what gives her true happiness – Lily doesn’t have much control over many things such as her mother and father, but what she does have control of her is her attitude and spirit -she learns to take control of those things and by constanltly hoping for the best she becomes a happier person and paves the way for her hopes and imaginations to come true -\”Because in the dark there may be fear, but there is also hope\”
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Note Card 13 Source:2 paragraph: character Quote:Lily is open to life and to change, and this keeps her moving in the right direction. Her courage is exhibited in the way she gets Rosaleen out of the hospital, and in the way she does not accept a false and cruel life with T. Ray. She refuses to live the hopeless life her mother chose. Though unworldly, she is resourceful and daring when it comes to running away, finding the Boatwrights through pluck and intelligence. Her quest is to find forgiveness and to find mother love, which she does through the Black Madonna. From the beginning, she is given to mystical experiences of places, events, and people. She thinks about God and questions why things are the way they are. Because of this, she receives answers and matures in the course of the novel.\”
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-great overall description of Lily and good examples of her personality throughout the book
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note card 14 source: 5 paragraph: Literary Criticism It is not until Lily stays with the Boatwrights that she learns any other alternative stories to the dead-end ones that she has grown up with. The book chronicles the way in which Lily, or any person, can change the tale of their lives\”
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-the book is inspiring in that if one captures the youthfulness(open-mindedness ) of Lily’s character that they have the ability to be better people and be who they want to be
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note card 15 source: 5 Paragraph: character . Kidd re-envisions the female role, expanding it even as far as embracing a female image of God. Indeed, in her collection of essays, Firstlight, Kidd has said, ‘Discovering our personal stories is a spiritual quest. Without such stories we cannot be fully human …’ In order for Lily to find her own story, she has to hear the stories of other women, who have blazed the trail before her…To begin with, she has no way to connect her background to that of Neil or the Boatwright sisters because she is white and fourteen, and they are African-American and adult. August becomes a sort of mother and teacher who helps Lily resurrect herself by initiating her into a new culture, with new female stories about the secret life of bees and the Black Madonna.Her facility with images and reflection is remarkable for a young girl; her English teacher has told her she should be a writer, and that is what she dreams of… August, in a way, allows Lily to change her own story.
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– Lily is often confused in the beginning of the story, trying to figure out her story and the person that she is, she often feels a sense of loneliness but through prayer and soul searching she realizes that she’s not alone after all. She can really on the lady of Mary, which is actually the spirit inside of her. Throughout her summer she strengthens and nourishes the lady of Mary, or mother inside her and this in turn allows her to be a strong individual.
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note card 16 source: 5 Paragraph: Author biography \”Kidd says more in Firstlight about writing and storytelling as important tools of \”soul-making,\” for when people share their stories, they come to find \”we are all one story.\”
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-Kidd weaves her real life views on story telling into the book, she believes that when you learn about new people and a different culture and way of life, you an learn to not only for yourself and differentiate yourself from the world but also find out that you are not much different from the rest of the world. You realize that you’re not all alone and this is the experience that Lily has by going to the pink house
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note card 17 source: 5 Paragraph: Literary criticism In The Secret Life of Bees the reader identifies with Lily’s story, sometimes in the particulars, but more importantly, in the stages of her spiritual growth. In all her books, fiction or nonfiction, Kidd maps out the territory surrounding the transformation of the soul.
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– I find this very true as I was able to connect to the book on high level due to Lily’s story of finding her spirituality. As a teenager that has grown up with a faith already given to me, I don’t feel as if I chose it on my own. Thus, I’m Constantly questioning the things I’m supposed to believe. I feel as though Lily was going on the same spiritual search than I am on right now, that is, to find what makes me feel complete and fufilled at the end of the day.
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Note card 18 source: 1 paragraph: symbolism \”Every little thing wants to be loved…is not just to love–but to persist in love\”
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-August is talking about the bees and that you must show them love but this is symbolic for Lily’s passionate desire to want love, all she wants is love and this is a reoccuring theme in the book as it pertains to her Mom, T.Ray, the bees, and even small insects -this is why even when he parents hurt her and the bee stings her, she reciprocates by forgiving her parents and the bees, she just loves, and imagines them loving her back
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Note card 19 Source 6 paragraph: literary criticism Quote: A friend recently wrote to thank me for recommending. The Secret Life of Bees. \”I finished it last night,\” she wrote, \”finished the last third of the book bawling and laughing and feeling both full and empty at the same time when I put it down.\” Maybe my review should end there. What better recommendation than from one who has been moved across a spectrum of emotions all at the same time. But reading is not only about emotion. We read for different reasons, but a connection with characters is often a main reason. Often we identify with stages of our own development. Sometimes knowing someone else, even a character in a novel, has shared an experience, is enough to validate our experience.
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– I understand how she would feel empty because as a reader I would sometimes envy the August and her sisters for having so much faith within them, yet I felt as if by hearing their stories, feelings, and experiences, I too was growing spiritually
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Note card 20 source 6 paragraph:literary criticism I studied with a professor one summer who said he looked for a vision of a way out in the novels he read. He said literature that merely confirmed the evil parts of the human condition did not go far enough. He said we already know what is wrong with life. It is the vision that we need.Sue Monk Kidd, in The Secret Life of Bees, provides many of the elements that make for good reading. There is emotional connection, connection with characters, stages of development, shared experience, and vision. She also gives us a larger framework, both knowledge of and a metaphor for life, in the lore of bees
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-I totally agree! -Literature is a place where you can be inspired -literature is a place where you can find that vision or desire, in this case it gives me the sense that if I am able to search for that spirituality and mother within me that I will be okay -it’s the strong emotional connection that kept me turning the pages as well
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Note card 21 source 6 paragraph: Character Perhaps what compels the reader most is Lily’s need to tell her story. The poignant reason she reveals early on. That reason and the few relics she possesses from her mother frame the novel. While Lily’s story is the journey to find answers, what she finds is \”there is nothing but mystery in the world.\” The inner journey, however, has more answers than the outer journey. This inner quest begins with loneliness and the prayer, \”fix me.\” Moves to confession and some sort of healing or, at least, acceptance.
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-in life, many people seek for answers about the future, but reality is that no one really knows what the future holds -what depicts your life is not the actual events but the way you respond to and cope with those events -In life, after work, school, family, ect. all you have is yourself, nothing else is permanent which is what Lily discovers -from that we see her transform from being confused and constantly seeking out answers to exrtremely self reliant
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Note card 22 source 6 paragraph: symbolism Lily finds in Mary what she needs to face herself, her mother, the women who have nurtured her, and, finally, her father. This Mary is earthy, not ethereal… This Mary is not high in heaven, but a ‘Mary with a wide-open door and, inside, all these people tucked away in the secret world of consolation.’….’This Mary,; Lily knows, ‘is a muscle of love.’ More than that, for Lily, Mary enables Lily to live with herself, with the great sins she has committed, knowing that Mary ‘goes into the holes life has gouged out of us.’
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-The point of Mary is not to think of her as a person in the heavens above and far away but more as a spirit that gives you the strength to fully accept and live with yourself, the good parts and the bad
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Note card 23 source 1 paragraph: character \”all I could think was August is so intelligent, so cultured, and I was surprised by this. That’s what let me know I had some prejudice buried inside me.
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-the beginning of the book when Lily fist meets August, she carries with her some old prejudice from living with T.Ray -she doesn’t realize it until now
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Note card 24 Source:1 paragraph: character \”Up until then I’d thought that white people and colored people getting along was the big aim, but after that I decided everybody being colorless together was a better plan. I thought of that policeman, Eddie Hazelwurst, saying I’d lowered myself to be in this house of colored women, and for the very life of me I couldn’t understand how it had turned out this way, how colored women had become the lowest ones on the totem pole. You only had to look at them to see how special they were, like hidden royalty among us. Eddie Hazelwurst. What a shitbucket.\”
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-Yet another transformation that Lily experiences -her youthful personality once again proves that she is open to love and this time, tolerance -she let’s go of all her past prejudice and completely accepts people of color which was very rare for someone living in the south during the civil rights movement -she sees the world not as it is, but how it’s supposed to be
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Note card 25 Source:6 paragraph:literary criticism \”the captivating force in the novel is Lily, the young narrator. It is her voice and her plight that drive the novel.\”
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Ultimately it’s Lily’s voice and story that makes the book so appealing -it’s the connection, from one teenage girl to another than makes me love the book so much -I too am,open to love,tolerance, faith and am constantly questioning the world’s injustices \”I’m intolerant of intolerance and that’s the only intoleration that i will tolerate\”-Shaycarl
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source : 6
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Laura J. Bloxham, Review of The Secret Life of Bees, in Dialog: A Journal of Theology, Vol. 44, No. 2. Summer 2005, pp. 197-98.
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Note card 26 Source:1 paragraph:theme \”My whole life had been nothing but a hole where my mother should have been, and this hole made me different, left me always aching for something, but never once did I think what he’d lost or how it might’ve changed him…I leaned over and picked up his knife, bent the blade closed, and handed it to him. ‘It’s all right,’ I said. But it wasn’t. I had seen into the dark doorway that he kept hidden inside, the terrible place he would seal up now and never return to if he could help it.\”
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Although her father never apologized for almost killing her and constantly being irrational and mean to Lily her entire life, Lily understands why her is the way he is. The level of tolerance and forgiveness she has in her heart is extremely rare.
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Note card 27 Source:1 paragraph:theme \”My stomach did a slow roll. I knew we’d come to the place in the story I feared the most. I began to breathe very fast. ‘ I was with her when you picked her up at the bus station. She brought me along, didn’t she?’ August leaned over and whispered against my hair. ‘No honey, she came by herself.’\”
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Everyday of her life, Lily dreamed that her mother had truly loved her. She never believed for one day that her mother would have left her. Maybe it is naiive and foolish for Lily to have thought that way but it helped her get through fourteen years of her life. She eventually finds out that her mother did leave her and as harsh as it was, Lily found a place in her heart to understand what her mother was going through.
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Note card 28 Source:1 paragraph:theme \” ‘One last thing,’ she said, and she drew out a small oval picture frame of tarnished silver…Me and my mother. I didn’t care about anything on this earth except the way her face was tipped toward mine, our noses just touching, how wide and gorgeous her smile was, like sparklers going off…I looked down at the picture, then closed my eyes. I figured May must’ve made it to heaven and explained to my mother about the sign I wanted. The one that would let me know I was loved.\”
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She then finds a baby picture that she forces herself to believe is the sign she had been in search for her whole life. A sign that would say her mother did love her. Although many people might say or think otherwise Lily would believe that her mother did love her even if she left her. This is a struggle that many deal with in life. This is the endless battle between pessimists and optimists. Life is full of unknowns, but as long as we are able to keep hope in our hearts, we are able to get through it, just like Lily. In the words of Meridith Grey, \”Because in the dark there may be fear, but there is also hope\”
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Note card 29 Source:1 paragraph:theme \” That day my mother died, you said when I picked up the gun it went off. My eyes were on his eyes…’Did I do it?’ ‘I could tell you I did it. That’s what you wanna hear. I could tell you she did it to herself, but both ways I’d be lying. It was you who did it, Lily. You didn’t mean it, but it was you.’\”
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Although it’s hard to face reality , Lily does, but she knows in order to get through she must forgive herself, so she does.
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Note card 30 Source:1 paragraph:theme \”I guess I have forgiven us both, although sometimes in the night my dreams will take me back to the sadness,and I have to wake up and forgive us again\”
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Lily forgives her and her mom
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Note card 31 Source:1 paragraph:theme \”I remember thinking that he probably loved me in his own smallish way. He had forfeited me over, hadn’t he? I still tell me that when he drove away that day he wasn’t saying good riddance; he was saying, Oh Lily, you’re better off there in that house of colored women. You never would’ve flowered with me like you will with them.\”
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-What allows Lily to keep moving forward in life is the fact that she is able to forgive and thus keep moving forward. She learns that ultimately she controls her attitude and happiness and what helps her to be happy is to forgive those that have hurt her and herself for the mistakes she has made. By forgiving others and ourselves, we set ourselves free and ready to hope and dream again. In forgiving them, a sense of hope is reestablished that although unlikely, her father might one day be the loving and caring father she had hoped for.
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Note card 32 Source:1 paragraph:character \” I watched till he was gone from sight, then turned and loked at August and Rosaleen and the daughters on the porch. This is the moment I remember clearest of all-how I stood in the driveway looking back at them. I remember the sight of them standing there waiting. All these women, all this love, waiting.\”
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Although Lily never had a mother, she appreciates what she does have. She sees how grateful she is and appreciate what she does have in her life. She is so optimistic and is constantly appreciating the good in her life.
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Note Card 33 Source:2 Paragraph: Author Biography Quote:\”. As a girl, she listened to her father’s stories and began writing stories of her own that were praised by her teachers. Kidd has been a life long journal writer, using the material for her stories and books…In 2002, Kidd published her first novel, The Secret Life of Bees, and it stayed on the bestseller lists for over two years.\”
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Commentary: -she was a good writer from a young age she herself kept a journal just like Lily kept a journal -she wrote stories from a young age she was influenced by the stories he dad told her
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Note Card 34 source:4 paragraph: literary criticism \”In a series of unforgettable events, Lily discovers the truth about her mother’s past and the certainty that the hardest thing on earth is choosing what matters.\”
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Commentary: -Indeed this is the challenge that Lily faces throughout the entire story, she’s trying to figure out life, how to enjoy it, how to live with her self and her flaws, and prioritizing.
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Note Card 35 Source:3 Paragraph: Symbolism \”August, clearly the queen bee of the Boatwrights, keeps asking Lily searching questions. Faced with so ideally maternal a figure as August, most girls would babble uncontrollably. But Lily is a budding writer, desperate to connect yet fiercely protective of her secret interior life.\”
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Commentary: -August is clearly the queen bee as she is the oldest, most maternal, the most superior. She is the person that everyone takes orders from -Lily is constantly seeking love, from August, the lady of Mary, her dad, and her mom but the barrier she puts up, or lie she tells throughout most of the book accounts for her \”secret life\” found in the title

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