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    Racism: Then and Now in The Secret Life of Bees

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    The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd is a book discussing the internal strife of a young white girl, in a very racist 1960’s south. The main character, Lily Owens, faces many problems she must overcome, including her personal dilemma of killing her own mother in an accident. Sue Monk Kidd accurately displays the irrationality of racism in the South during mid- 1960’s not only by using beautiful language, but very thoroughly developed plot and character development. Kidd shows the irrationality of racism through the characters in her book, The Secret Life of Bees and shows that even during that time period, some unique people, were able to see beyond the heavy curtain of racism that separated people from each other. The Secret Life of Bees was published in 2002, about 40 years after Martin Lither King Jr. ’s “I Have A Dream Speech”.

    By this, Kidd hint as the present day racism that is hidden and shows that despite the many social movements taken to eliminate racism, it still exists. Sue Monk Kidd shows the irrationality of racism, by having black and white people being the prominent characters of her book and showing the forbidden love between the two races, via Zach and Lily. Kidd also shows the views of others on racism by having 3rd-party characters comment on Lily staying with black women by the receptionist at the lawyer’s office and the police officer. Lily faced much internal struggle, and overcoming her own sense of racism and stereotypes.

    Her stereotypes classify all black people as being dumb and thick-minded, and not thoughtful and clever like August Boatwright, the woman whose house Lily is staying at. Lily is exposed to many types of black people who are unlike the people she stereotyp. . ‘s hearts Atticus had no case. Tom was a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed. ” Lee 244.

    In conclusion, Sue Monk Kidd does a phenomenal job of displaying the racism that occurred in the very racist Deep South. She also showed that it could be overcome by people, and that stereotypes for both blacks and whites are irrational. Kidd shows that people have to look beyond that heavy shadow that racism has, and get to know each other, and not let stereotypes separate them.

    Work Cited:

    • N. p. . To Kill A Mockingbird Quotes Page 1. Web. 15 Feb 2014. N. p. . OWL Purdue.
    • Web. 15 Feb 2014. N. p. .
    • The Secret Life of Bees. Web. 18 Feb 2014. N. p.  Enotes. Web. 19 Feb 2014. Kidd, Sue Monk. The secret life of bees.
    • New York: Viking, 2002. Print. Lee, Harper. “Chapter 25. ” To kill a mockingbird.
    • Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1960. 244. Print.

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    Racism: Then and Now in The Secret Life of Bees. (2019, Feb 15). Retrieved from

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