In The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, readers are introduced to a girl named Lily. Lily is fourteen and lives in South Carolina. She lives with her father, T. Ray, because her mother died when she was younger. T. Ray told Lily that she played a part in the mother's death, and shot her while T. Ray and she were arguing. Since this happened, Lily begins to hate herself for killing her only mother. When lily finds out that her mother actually ran off and left her, she is very mad. Lily also spends a lot of time with her housekeeper and nanny, Rosaleen, a black woman. Rosaleen and Lily end up running away to a town named Tiburon, which was a place Lily found out about due to a picture of a black Mary her mother had given her; the name of the town was written on the back of the picture. When she arrives there, this is when she starts to feel the feeling of love and begins to stop hating other people, and more importantly, herself.
When Lily is told that she was responsible for killing her own mother, she begins to hate herself. Since she has so much hatred built up for herself, she finds that it is easier just to hate other people too, instead of learning to love them. This changes, however, when she arrives at the Calendar sisters' home. The Calendar sisters are April, May, and June Boatwright, and they live in Tiburon. They treat her like a queen be, and express love towards her. Lily finds out that May knew Deborah Fontanel, and May tells her that she did, but she could not tell May that she was her mother. May, Zach, and August showed Lily that it is okay to love other people, and that she should not hate herself.
Lily hates her father T. Ray and it is very evident. She would not call him daddy because she though it did not fit him. He was abusive, yelled at her, and did not really know her. T. Ray takes the anger from losing his beloved wide out on his daughter. Sometimes when children grow up, they begin to understand their parents more and realize why they do things they do, and still find it in their heart to love them. Lily on the other hand understands why her father acts like he does, but could not find love for him. This is because of the way he had treated her when she younger. Although she understands now, it did not make everything he previously did right and okay. Lily thought that the biggest thing he did to shower her that he loves her was when he let her stay in Tiburon, away from him-
He drove away slowly, not tearing down the road like I expected. I watched till he was gone from sight, then turned and looked at August and Rosaleen and the Daughters on the porch. This is the moment I remember clearest of all-how I stood in the driveway looking back at them. â€¦All these women, all this love, waiting. (Monk Kidd 299)
Although T. Ray abused Lily and did not show proper love for his daughter, he let her stay with people who loved her because he knew it was better for her. This shows that somewhere in his heart, he does love Lily.
Lily hated June atone point, but it was because June hated Lily, which was since she knew who Lily's mother was. The two also were very stubborn and similar, which made them fight and escaladed into what they called hate at one point. They judged each other at first and did not get to know each other: "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" (148). This quote is a metaphor meaning that people have lives that other people do not know about. Lily and June did not really know each other, but still decided to hate each other. Finally, they learn not to hate each other. Lily also says she "hates" Rosaleen, but they just argued a lot. Rosaleen and Lily's relationship resembled a mother and daughter's relationship, and since Lily never had a mother, Rosaleen is there for her. Sometimes teenagers get embarrassed by their mothers, which is what Lily felt with Rosaleen, and so Lily said she hated Rosaleen, but she really did not. Rosaleen always loved Lily like she was her own daughter, and once Lily gets past her immature stage, she learns to love Rosaleen like a mother.
Overall, Lily goes through phases of love and hate with almost everyone she meets, and it only makes her a better and stronger person. Her father taught her that deep down, someone can really love another person. The Calendar sisters taught Lily that she should love herself, no matter what, and Rosaleen showed Lily what love was, and was always there for her.