The book opens up in the summer of 1964 with Lily Owens, age fourteen, lying in bed watching bees fly right into her room. She recalls her mother’s death, which occurred when Lily was four years old. She alludes to some sort of accident and also thinks that it was not Lily’s fault. In her mother’s absence, Lily has actually lived with her disgruntled father, T. Ray Owens. He is abusive and cold, and Lily does her best to protect against him.

Throughout nights alone in her room, Lily sees swarms of bees entering her room. The risk of being stung scares her, yet she finds the sight of so many type of bees amazing. She runs to wake up T. Ray to show him the sheat, but when they return ago to Lily’s room, the bees have actually disshowed up, which annoys T. Ray. Despite Lily’s insistence that the bees existed, T. Ray does not believe her, so Lily decides to catch the bees to prove it to T. Ray.

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Lily flashes back to her only memory of her mommy, which was from the day she passed away, December 3, 1954. Lily remembers that her mom was packing frantically that day, and also then T. Ray gotten in the house. Lily’s mom came to be even more rushed with his visibility. When T. Ray entered the room, they started to fight, and also Lily was pulled out of the room. Lily’s mother then ordered a gun. T. Ray got hold of the gun away and dropped it on the floor. Lily picked up the gun, and as much as her memory goes, she thinks she swarm her mother.

Lily and also T. Ray have actually been living on a peach farm in Sylvan, South Carolina. The children at Lily’s school ridicule her for the gigantic peach that stands by the gate of the farm, calling it “the Great Fanny.” Lily is not an extremely social girl, and also she provides her very own apparel. She is disappointed by her looks and her incapacity to be a girl.

Rosaleen, the Owens’ black housekeeper (age unknown), does her finest to reassure Lily of her churts. Lily knows that despite her sharp tongue, Rosaleen loves Lily endlessly. Rosaleen stands up for Lily in the challenge of T. Ray. Rosaleen was born right into a big family in McClellanville, South Carolina, however she does not understand wbelow any kind of of her siblings are. She married, however she kicked her husband also out for cheating on her. Lily dreams of Rosaleen being her actual mommy.

Lily’s mother’s name was Deborah, a name that T. Ray refuses to say. Lily has actually been able to learn very little about her mommy. Lily has often missed her mommy throughout specifically feminine moments choose buying a bra or gaining her initially duration. Lily does find relics of her mom in her attic: a tiny bag containing a photo of Deborah, a pair of white gloves, and a little wooden picture of a black Mary through “Tiburon, S.C.” scratched into the ago. Lily has actually preserved her mother’s belongings hidden in the backyard. Lily makes a goal of traveling to Tiburon sooner or later, for she desires to go anywhere her mommy had actually ever before been.

Spending afternoons marketing peaches for T. Ray from a roadside stand also, Lily is repetitively bored, yet she is not permitted to bring publications to entertain her. Lily loves reading, and also among her teachers, Mrs. Henry, gives insight right into exactly how bideal Lily’s future can be. Mrs. Henry encourages Lily to consider a profession as a writer or a professor. Lily accepts that her future can result in composing, which she loves. Lily writes whenever she gets the possibility. T. Ray mocks her for her endeavors, however Lily spends her time in the peach stand also creating poeattempt.

The day prior to Lily starts initially grade, T. Ray confronts Lily around what occurred to Deborah. He claims she was cleaning out the closet, and T. Ray is shocked once Lily confesses that she remembers. T. Ray claims that after she picked up the gun, it just went off, killing her mom. He adds that Lily did not mean to carry out it, so now she knows what taken place.

The nation has started to obsess over Khrushchev and also the possibility of being bombed by the Soviet Union. Lily’s institution begins bomb drills. Around the same time, President Johnson indicators the Civil Rights Act right into regulation, and Rosaleen is thrilled. Lily is worried, yet, that the regulation can reason an uproar among the white community.

Lily’s birthday is approaching, and she is reasoning about exactly how to delicately strategy the topic via T. Ray. Eextremely year, she really hopes that T. Ray will certainly acexpertise her birthday through a special gift—probably a silver cdamage bracelet—yet he never before does. When Lily mentions the bracelet, she is ignored.

That night, Lily goes to the backyard to dig up her mother’s belongings, and also she drops asleep in the orchard. She is awakened by T. Ray running through the trees in search of her. He accoffers her of being out in the backyard through someone, and also he punishes her with kneeling on grits, a painful punishment she has been enduring because she was 6. She is left via little welts everywhere her knees. Up until that allude, Lily thought that possibly T. Ray loved her a little, but after that she feels convinced that he does not.

Rosaleen tells Lily that she will certainly be registering to vote on the Fourth of July. Lily begs Rosaleen to take her along. Lily gets permission from T. Ray under the pretense that she is going to tvery own to buy female sanitary provides, a topic that T. Ray prevents.

That night, Lily attempts to let her bees go. She unscrews the lid of the jar which hosted them, yet the bees carry out not move. They are still tright here the following morning, as soon as Rosaleen walks into Lily’s bedroom through a birthday cake. They begin their lengthy walk to town, and also the 2 of them soptimal to remainder in the church.

The church minister walks in to discover Lily and Rosaleen, and also he mirrors an obvious look of disapproval that Lily is accompanied by a babsence womale. The minister renders tiny talk and wishes Lily a happy birthday. Rosaleen asks if they could borrow church fans for Lily’s birthday, but the minister refsupplies. As Lily and Rosaleen leave the church, Rosaleen steals the fans.

Once the 2 are in town in Sylvan, several men speak to out to Rosaleen in an insulting and derogatory means. Rosaleen claims that she is registering to vote, however the men proceed to mock her. After continued harassment, Rosaleen decides to fight earlier, pouring the snuff spit she had actually built up all over the shoes of the guys. They demand also that Rosaleen apologize and clean their shoes, but she refsupplies. The guys contact the police and then beat Rosaleen. When the police arrive, Rosaleen is arrested, and also the officer tells Lily they will certainly contact T. Ray for her.

The three men who attacked Rosaleen follow them to the police station. When they acquire out of the vehicle, Rosaleen is handcuffed and also the men proceed to beat her. Rosaleen suffers a heavy blow to the head. The guys thrconsumed to continue, yet Officer Gaston takes Rosaleen and also Lily right into the jailhouse out of harm’s means. After half an hour, T. Ray involves pick Lily up, but Rosaleen has to continue to be in jail.

Lily begs T. Ray to obtain Rosaleen out of jail, but he defines that Rosaleen determined to dump spit all over the many racist male in town. Upon returning house, T. Ray tells Lily not to think around leaving the house, and Lily responds that he does not streatment her. She and also T. Ray gain right into a fight finishing via T. Ray attempting to punch Lily in the challenge. Lily claims that her mom would certainly have kept her safe, yet T. Ray replies that Deborah did not treatment around Lily and that in fact she deliberately had left Lily behind. Lily sinks, and also her mind rattles about her father’s statement. She decides to leave T. Ray’s house and gain Rosaleen out of jail.

She takes $38, some clothes, toiletries, and her mother’s belongings. She writes T. Ray a note and leaves with T. Ray running after her. Lily ponders wbelow she will certainly pursue she meets Rosaleen, and also she concludes that she must go to Tiburon. At the terminal, Officer Gaston increates Lily that Rosaleen is at the hospital because she had “fallen and hit her head.” Lily heads to the hospital, despite warnings from Officer Gaston that she will not be allowed to check out Rosaleen.

Lily sneaks by the officer stationed at the hospital and also finds Rosaleen. Her head is bandaged heavily, and she tells Lily that the police permitted the men that had harassed Rosaleen to beat her up. Rosaleen still refoffered to apologize to them.

Despite Rosaleen’s protests, Lily devises a plan to acquire Rosaleen out of the hospital. Lily calls the hospital pretending to be the jailer’s wife with instructions that the officer guarding Rosaleen need to go earlier to the station. Once the officer leaves the hospital, Rosaleen and also Lily walk out. They start thumbing for a ride. Ultimately a babsence male offering melons picks them up and agrees to drop them three miles from Tiburon.

Once they obtain out of the car, Lily describes that they have actually travebrought about Tiburon because of Lily’s hope that she would uncover someone who knew her mom. She tells Rosaleen what T. Ray shelp about Deborah leaving Lily. Lily hopes Rosaleen have the right to administer contradictory information, however Rosaleen replies that she just experienced Deborah from a distance and noticed that she always seemed sad. This angers Lily, and also she and also Rosaleen argue prior to going to bed in a woodland.

When Lily awakens in the night, she cannot find Rosaleen, so she panics. She finds Rosaleen bathing in the river and also then apologizes for their fight. Rosaleen does the very same. Lily is still consumed by thoughts of her mom.


At the beginning of the book, the parallels in between humans and bees begin. The initially connect is establiburned between bees and also Lily’s mom, Deborah. The name “Deborah” is a translation from the Hebrew for “bee.” In enhancement, Lily interprets the swarms of bees that enter her room to be indicators that come straight from her mom. Alengthy via the bees come words of advice and also comfort from an unwell-known voice.

Lily’s character is arisen in these chapters as a kid who has experienced a unstable past. She not only has actually lived through the traumatic occasion of her mother’s fatality, yet she likewise feels incredible guilt for bring about her death. She remembers enough to recognize that she bears some obligation, although she has never before taken why her mother had actually been gone and was packing. At the same time, her father, T. Ray, is abusive and also cold. These aspects of her family life assist the reader understand why Lily is so sad and also a bit strange. She expects disappointment, and also she has concerned accept that she will not prosper approximately end up being much. It is not till her teacher, Mrs. Henry, intervenes and also supports her that she starts to view herself as having a productive future.

Kidd paints amazing descriptions of the establishing neighboring Lily in South Carolina. She uses specific metaphors in enhancement to the symbol of the bees as soon as she compares lightning to “soft gold licks across the skies.” She additionally uses personification, creating that the “darkness pulls the moon to the peak of the skies.” In addition, she interweaves nature imagery via emotions to paint the scene, explaining, for instance, that “sunset is the saddest light tright here is.”

The usage of Lily’s memory serves two functions. First of all, given that Lily can remember aspects of her mother’s fatality, she have the right to provide most the indevelopment in the first perchild. No one else is needed to tell Lily’s story. The method that Lily retells the story permits the reader to acquire the perspective of a sad and also confused boy in the middle of chaos.

2nd, Lily’s blurred memory creates holes that Lily herself will work-related to fill in. Someone else demands to tell her mother’s story, and Lily will try to carry out so by journeying into her mother’s previous and going anywhere her mom has been. T. Ray abprovides his place as Lily’s father when he apparently lies, telling Lily that her mother was leaving in component to abandon her. This is not a story that fits Lily’s knowledge of motherhood and also love, so she becomes disturbed enough to leave her cold father behind and seek an extra believable reality.

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The layout of race connections is establimelted automatically in this first section of the book. Lines are attracted between babsence and white across all settings: in the home, in church, in tvery own, concerning crime and justice, and also also in art and religious beliefs, as shown by the babsence Mary image among Deborah’s belongings. South Carolina in 1964 is absolutely a hotbed of racial tension. Although the Civil Rights Act is in force, the citizens themselves are slow to accept the important etop quality of human being of various races. Rosaleen is prepared to take up her rights, yet, and Lily appears to have no difficulty whatsoever before of appreciating Rosaleen on the basis of who she is—in some ways, the mom Lily has actually not had.

The relationships that matter, for them, are guided more by sex than by race. That is, the two are bonding as females against civilization prefer the racist males and also T. Ray. Although Lily is somewhat quick to gain right into fights, she has had actually sufficient of T. Ray while she actively looks for out Rosaleen to consist of after their fight.

Next SectionChapters 3 and 4 Overview and AnalysisPrevious SectionThemesBuy Study GuideHow To Cite in MLA FormatRaub, Adena. Kissel, Adam ed. "The Secret Life of Bees Chapters 1 and 2 Synopsis and Analysis"., 30 November 2008 Internet. Cite this page