The Secret Life of Bees Essay

Sue Monk Kidd
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In the following essay, Morey discusses how Kidd mingles historical realism and fairy-tale elements in the novel.

Ten years ago Sue Monk Kidd was a traditionally grounded Christian writer. But like her engaging narrator Lily Owens, Kidd is on a spiritual journey, heralded by her 1996 nonfiction work The Dance of the Dissident Daughter and confirmed in this captivating first novel about love and forgiveness. Guided by bees and a group of women devoted to a black Madonna, 14-year-old Lily Owens embarks upon a spiritual quest that carries her through the shadow of racism and her own spiritual suffering and brings her to adulthood.

The context for her quest is South Carolina in 1964, a transformative year for civil rights. America had survived the fury and sorrow of 1963: the murder of Medgar Evers, the Birmingham church bombing and the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The next year brought the...

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This section contains 798 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Secret Life of Bees Study Guide
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