Literature Study GuidesThe Secret Life Of Bees

The Secret Life of Bees

Sue Monk Kidd

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Course Hero. "The Secret Life of Bees Study Guide." Course Hero. 11 Aug. 2017. Web. 6 July 2020. <>.

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Course Hero. (2017, August 11). The Secret Life of Bees Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved July 6, 2020, from

In text

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Course Hero. "The Secret Life of Bees Study Guide." August 11, 2017. Accessed July 6, 2020.


Course Hero, "The Secret Life of Bees Study Guide," August 11, 2017, accessed July 6, 2020,


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Sue Monk Kidd

Year Published






Perspective and Narrator

Fourteen-year-old Lily Owens, the protagonist of The Secret Life of Bees, narrates her coming-of-age story in the first person. This narrative technique allows the reader to share in Lily's emotional confusion and struggle as she moves from emotional brokenness to wholeness.


Most of The Secret Life of Bees is written in the past tense, but the last three pages are in the present tense. The story is told by Lily Owens during the autumn of 1964, as she recalls the life-changing events of the previous summer.

About the Title

In Chapter 8, caretaker and beekeeper August Boatwright tells Lily Owens "bees have a secret life we don't know anything about." Bees are extremely intelligent, social, and productive creatures, but their lives are conducted in secrecy inside the darkness of the hive. Like the bees, Lily's inner life is secret: she conceals her torment over her mother's death as well as her reason for coming to the Boatwright sisters' house. As Lily learns the art of beekeeping from August Boatwright, she also undergoes a spiritual journey from secretiveness to openness.


This study guide and infographic for Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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