Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Discussion on The Secret Life of Bees

Here's some discussion questions for The Secret Life of Bees (questions found here):
  1. How would you describe Lily's feelings about her mother? Did they change throughout the novel? How did hearing that her mother left her affect her perception of her mother?

  2. Do you believe T-Ray's account of what happened when Lily's mother died?

  3. Did your opinion of T-Ray change when August told Lily about how much he used to love her mother? Does Deborah's abandonment explain or excuse T-Ray?

  4. Do you agree with Lily that people would rather die than forgive? Does she forgive her mother? T-Ray? Herself?

  5. What do the bees mean to the story? What is "the secret life of bees?"

  6. Do you think race was portrayed realistically in The Secret Life of Bees? What do you think Sue Monk Kidd was saying about race in this novel?

  7. Why did Rosaleen spit on the men's shoes? What are the ways the characters in the novel confront injustice? How do you think we should deal with injustice? Do these kinds of prejudices still exist today?

  8. What was your reaction to Lily's relationship with Zach? What do you think happened to them in the future?

  9. Talk about the sisters. Who was your favorite? Do we all need a wailing wall, like May? Why do you think June was cold toward Lily? How would you describe August?

  10. What role did the Black Madonna play in their community? What do you think about the legend of the Black Madonna?

  11. Rate The Secret Life of Bees on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being low and 5 being high).
Obviously, you don't need to answer all of these questions, but leave a comment on as many as you would like. Or just leave a general comment - anything to spark some discussion. I thought the book made for a very interesting read.


Michelle said...

Okay, first of all I have to say that I hated the name T-Ray, I always wanted to say it T-Rex and thought this may be appropriate that he is an old mean dinosaur. :) dumb I know!
At the beginning I really hated him, I thought that he was the reason Lily's mom left and he was the one who really killed her. But then as the story went on I took pity on him and felt bad with all that he had to deal with and took more of his side. It would be hard to lose his wife, no matter how rocky their relationship was. Raising a girl that he has no idea about! I still had a hard time finding respect for him, just pity. But he is a hard working man.

I loved the aunts names, after months! I thought it was cute. I feel like May that at times I want to run to a wall and shoved my problems at it and just cry! But in the end it is just a cold rock wall and it doesn't comfort you with a warm hug, or give you encouraging words.

Sarah said...

Alright, so I've been meaning to comment on this for weeks now. Seriously, I'm so lazy ...

I did read and enjoy the book. I'm with Michelle; I hated the name T-Ray - it also made me think of a T-Rex. I hated him, too, but a little less so at the end of the book. I was hoping that he was the one responsible for his wife's death ... but I guess not. Still, no wonder he was so hard to live with. It in no way excuses his behavior toward Lily, but does help explain his treatment of Lily. Still, I don't like him. I'm very glad Lily got to stay with the calendar sisters at the end of the book.

And call me a hopeless romantic, but I hope things work out between Lily and Zach. I hope he becomes a kick-butt lawyer and they end up married. I love how Lily's attitude towards race changed throughout the book. She was ever a 'racist' but even she didn't think that black boys could be attractive. Then she realizes that she does find Zach attractive and that she likes him - and he likes her. Quite a perspective change. I hope they live happily ever after :)

And of course I loved the calendar sisters. Maybe we all could occasionally use a wailing wall. Though Michelle is right - it's just a cold wall that offers no comfort. That's why we're all here in family units ... so we have someone to help us through those rough patches. I loved August and her total acceptance of Lily.

So yep, I enjoyed the book. I recommended it to a lady I work with because I think it's a book that is enjoyable, yet has a message, too.