Bees relate and foreshadow many things that happen in this story. For example, at the beginning of the novel, when Lily catches a bee in a jar and opens for it to leave shows that Lily should leave too. She realizes she has to save Rosaleen and escape from her abusive father, T. Ray. The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd, is a novel that possesses a strong symbol of bees and how they can relate to human life.
When August said “Well if you have a queen and a group of independent-minded bees that split off from the rest of the hive and look for another place to live, then you’ve got a swarm.”, means that even though Lily ran away from home, she has found a new group of people to depend on (93). This quote talks about how Lily’s mother, Deborah, died and passed away and the other bees split off to find a place to live. The bees are dependent on their mother, the queen bee, and since she’s gone, they have sustenance for family. The Boatwrights have brought Lily a home and replaced her mother.
“Most people don’t have any idea about all the complicated life going on inside a hive. Bees have a secret life we don’t know anything about” is a quote by August that talks about how people don’t know the way Lily’s life is and what she’s been through (148). The Boatwrights don’t know that Lily has been treated really badly by her cruel father. This is just the same as the bees because people don’t know how the bees live and they just see them flying around collecting honey. They don’t realize that bees need the queen bee in order to survive. Without the queen bee, as if Lily needs her mother, she will run away to find another motherly figure to survive.
“Putting black cloths on the hives is for us. I do it to remind us that life gives way into death, and then death turns around and gives way into life.” August said, means that when death occurs, something new will always happen (206). This symbolizes how beehives are like a cycle, when the queen bee dies; the bees need find a new queen and start a new life. For example when May died, it leads to June marrying Neil. Then, when Deborah, Lily’s mother died, it leads to Lily finding the Boatwrights and starts a new life with them. This is how the beehive relates to the way Lily needs her mother and the death and importance of the queen bee.
The importance of the queen bee to a hive is compared to the need of a mother to Lily, a young girl, in The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd. When Deborah, Lily’s mother died, she went for a search of a new motherly figure as if a bee would do when their queen bee is gone. People don’t understand the life of a bee and what they’ve been through as Lily has been treated horribly by her father, T. Ray. The death of the mother brings a new life to the bees like Lily finding a new home with the Boatwrights.