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Everyone has a story that he carries around in his heart. Some are happy stories, some are stories of despair, and some are filled with hope. No matter what, these are bound to affect each bearer. In the novel The Secret Life of Bees, two of the main characters are followed by a story of the past. Lily Owens, a runaway fugitive, is haunted by a decade ago tragedy of witnessing her mother’s death. The tragedy though, is that she is the one who accidentally committed this horrible act.
August Boatwright is one of three eccentric sisters, who also happens to be a beekeeper. She has a more optimistic story to tell, as it is one of obtaining courage and hope from a source other than family or friends. In this novel, the reader gets to see how the characters’ lives change, how it gives the characters hope, and the importance of the quest for truth.
One cannot go unchanged by a significant event that has happened.
It can be a good change, exemplified by August’s behavior and attitude toward life. Her story is one of hope. “One day, a slave named Obadiah was loading bricks onto a boat that would sail down the Ashley River, when he saw something washed up on the bank. Coming closer, he saw it was the wooden figure of a woman. Her body was growing out of a block of wood, a black woman with her arm lifted out and her fist balled up” (Kidd, 108).
So starts the adventure of finding the mother figure that is Mary. This changes August’s life for the better. On the other hand, it can be a bad change. Ever since the accident ten years ago, Lily does not stop thinking about how her life could have been better.
Every good story gives hope to the reader or listener. “It’s my time to die, and it’s your time to live. Don’t mess it up” (Kidd, 210). This was said by May Boatwright, in her letter she left to her friends and family. This helped August realize that she has to continue her life even after the death of her caring sister. It gives August, June, and even Lily hope for the future. This adds on to the hope given by the black Mary statue, and is now part of August’s life story. At this point, Lily still has hope about the intentions of her mother. She asks for signs of love, prays to Mary, and spends every night thinking about the constant memories of her mother. “I raised my arms to her, and she picked me up, saying I was way too big a girl to hold like this, but holding me anyway. The moment she lifted me, I was wrapped in her smell” (Kidd, 6). People are given the gift of hope, and do not lose it easily. Lily shows a first hand experience of that.
It is said that one knows the truth, not only by the reason, but by the heart. Lily wants to find out the truth about her mother. She leaves her home not just out of fear of T. Ray, but in her heart she just needs to know what happened. She cannot go on without it. She wants to know if her father is lying when he says,” the day she died, she’d come back to get her things, that’s all. You can hate me all you want, but she’s the one who left you” (Kidd, 39). August seeks truth in a different way. Her search is for guidance and a purposeful life. When the statue was handed down to her from her previous generation, so would begin her quest for truth about life, happiness, and others. It is important for most people to be happy, but one needs to find the truth in things before this can by accomplished.
The greatest impact on a person’s outlook on life is the story he carries with him wherever he goes. It can make you a better person, or it can make you bitter. In The Secret Life of Bees the audience sees how the stories chan
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