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THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES BY SUE MONK KIDD
ESSAY QUESTIONS - IDEAS / BOOK REPORT TOPICS
1. Who is the queen in this novel?
2. What does August mean when she tells Lily that everyone needs a god that looks like them?
3. Examine the Civil Rights Amendment of 1964. How would this Amendment have affected every-day people?
4. Do you think that racism has changed a lot since 1964? If, yes, why do you think it has changed? If, no, what do you think has to happen for it to change?
5. Why do you think Rosaleen was jealous of the time Lily spent with August? Do you think she will continue to be jealous now that they will live together permanently?
6. What do you think made T. Ray turn into a mean person?
7. Why is it more important for Lily to have a mother-figure than a father-figure?
8. Did May’s death have any positive effects for those she left behind?
9. Why is it so important to Rosaleen that she registers to vote?
10. How does this novel explore the effects of misogynism in women’s lives?
COMMENT ON THE STUDY OF LITERATURE
The study of literature is not like the study of math or science, or even history. While those disciplines are based largely upon fact, the study of literature is based upon interpretation and analysis. There are no clear-cut answers in literature, outside of the factual information about an author's life and the basic information about setting and characterization in a piece of literature. The rest is a highly subjective reading of what an author has written; each person brings a different set of values and a different background to the reading. As a result, no two people see the piece of literature in exactly the same light, and few critics agree on everything about a book or an author.
In this study guide, we have tried to give an objective literary analysis based upon the information actually found in the novel, book, or play. In the end, however, it is an individual interpretation, but one that we feel can be readily supported by the information that is presented in the guide. In your course of literature study, you or your professor/teacher may come up with a different interpretation of the mood or the theme or the conflict. Your interpretation, if it can be logically supported with information contained within the piece of literature, is just as correct as ours; so is the interpretation of your teacher or professor.
Literature is simply not a black or white situation; instead, there are many gray areas that are open to varying analyses. Your task is to come up with your own analysis that you can logically defend. Hopefully, this study guide will help you to accomplish that goal.