The Secret Life of Bees gives aradicalanalysis of ayounggirl- Lily, growing up underexceptionalcircumstances for a girl her age. She not only suffers the abuses of aharshfather but painful memories of her mother’s deathtoowhen she was a child. The latter’spainbeing worsenedby guilt feelings about herinvolvementin her demise. Lily had accidentally shot Deborah, her mother during abrawlwith her father T. Ray.Jenny’sfaintmemory of her with agunthat fateful afternoonis re-affirmedby her father’sconfessionthat she did kill her mother.This state of affairs had derailed Jenny’s life and made her confused, sad andcuriousalmost atequalmeasure.T. Ray’s assertion that her mother had abandoned them before and that she had only come topickher clothes without Jenny broke her heart.
It elicited hatred and despise feelings in Jenny’s young heart. Simply put, blaming Deborah for all her plight became sonaturalfor Jenny. Thus, how Jenny came toputup with all these and even come to forgive her mother isfascinating. This paper seeks to explore how the issues ofresponsibilityand forgivesare appliedin Jenny’suniquelife. Perhaps the most poignant in whichresponsibilityand forgivenessis exploredin this book revolves around the death of Jenny’s mother. Thisis broughtout in the following ways; First, Jenny isbitterthat her mother had todieand leave her behind with an abusive father who loves to hate her. News that her mother hadabandonJenny with her father thedayshe came back, allegedly, topicksome belongingswastoo much to bear.
It makes Jenny believe that both parents had no love for her. Todoublethe insult, sheconstantlyfacesextremepunishment for the most remotemistake. For examle, her father makes her kneel ondrygrit (Kidd 11). As if this is not enough, he downplays her ambitions of studying to achieve literacy and even going as far as laughing at her. This serves tohurtand remind Jenny of her mother. It does not help that her father shouldbe a source of comfort andhopeinDeborah’s absence. He is simply not doing that. Jennyis instead forcedtoseekthiscomfortfrom her nanny Rosaline.With all these issues at play, any thoughts of ever forgiving her parents seem next to impossible to Jenny yet she comes todojust that at a later stage in the book.She not only forgives but also loves them unconditionally (Kidd 152).
The secondexamplein which the issue of forgiveness andresponsibilityis exploredlies in Jenny’s relationship with her nanny. Despite her Africandissent, Rosaline accepts and comforts Jenny exclusively. She has adeepsense of responsibility as far as Jenny’swelfareis concerned. Rosaline demonstrates this by mediating between Jenny and her father when the need arises. For example, Rosaline stood up to T. Ray when he demanded that Lily should get rid of a chick that she had given Jenny one Easter (Kidd 22). It is necessary to note that Rosaline faces a fair share of racial discrimination from Jenny’srace. She puts up with all kinds of abuses directed to her for the mere fact of her skin color. She has all reasons totreatJenny withequalresentment but Rosaline does not. She instead opens up to Jenny and makes it herresponsibilitytoguideJenny while overlooking the evils committed on her by Jenny’srace. This shows Rosaline’s agility to forgive freely andreadily.
The thirdexplorationofresponsibilityby the writer of Secret Life Of Bees is in Jenny’s reaction to her Rosaline’s arrrest by racists. With her nanny being the only person whose love she knew, Jenny took asubstantialrisk by freeing her from prison. She appreciates the role of Rosaline in herlifeand takes it upon herself to be ofhelpduring her time of need. After all Rosaline had helped her one time too many. Rosaline reciprocates this by accepting to escape with Jenny to the unknown. Thisescapeends up serving as a strong bond. It marks the beginning of the end to theiremptyand abusive lives back home. Theyare warmly welcomedinto August’s and Tiburon’scommunitywithout as much as a mention of Jenny’s white background.
August’s openheartto ayounglyinggirlof a white race which is asubjectin her black people’s suffering speaksvolumeof whatforgivenesscan do.It explores thevitalissues of forgiveness andresponsibility. August not only ensures that Jenny and Rosalineare acceptedby her sisters but also assumestheirresponsibility. She provides for them in all ways and even equips them with bee keeping skills.Having known what was bothering Jenny psychologically, August set on amissiontomakeher open up and let go of her emotions.Thewriterquotes August telling Jenny that “Bees have a secret life we do not know anything about” (Kidd 148). Thisfinallymakes Jennypourher heart to August. Under August’sguidance, Jenny got to understand the importance of forgiving and loving those around her, especially her parents.
In conclusion, Jenny, though harboring feelings ofresentmentto her parents yearned formaternallove. She felt responsible for her mother’s death and hoped to ask her forgiveness someday. Her experience with the bees and Augustfinallyled her toshadeoff hatred, forgive her parents and love them with their flaws.