The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd Book Review
This passage takes place after August tells Lily about her mom and how they knew each other. Lily confesses that she lied about her father dying and August admits to why she did not tell Lily the truth. She then reflects on her conversation with August, comparing her “pack of lies” to a “pack of truth”. This understanding helps develop Lily’s character and furthermore extends the theme of the story.
When Lily says, "Once you know the truth, you can't ever go back and pick up your suitcase of lies", she demonstrates how she has grown and matured as a person. At the beginning of the story, she used to lie a lot, but by the end of it, she started telling the truth more often. An example of this is when she lied to August about T. Ray being dead, but at the end of the story, she came clean. In this part of the passage, Lily uses her own experience involving lying. She states that lying is like a suitcase you can't pick up, which is a metaphor. Lily declares that lying conceals the truth and once you lie you can not go back. At this point in the story, she matures as a person by realizing that lying is not valid. This reflection shows that Lily is a dynamic character as she changed throughout the book and transformed into a better person.
In Lily's thoughts, she says “Knowing can be a curse on a person's life”. This is after Lily finds out about her mother. She received knowledge and it was not what she wanted to hear, thus showing why the theme is knowledge. Lily went to Tiburon to know the truth. The truth hurt her, but it completed her, making herself accept a much bigger truth about love, forgiveness, and strength. This quote helps advance the theme of the story which is knowing too much is a curse, but living in ignorance is not a blessing. Throughout the book, characters like Lily and Zach lived in ignorance until they learned something which changed their knowledge and consciousness. An example with Zach is that he lived in ignorance of racism, but when he got arrested, he gained knowledge of prejudice. An example with Lily is that she lived her whole life thinking that her mother was good and ignoring her past. The truth disappointed, angered and afflicted with her emotions. She wanted knowledge of her mother because she believed it would have helped create her own identity. Ignorance led to disappointment and dismay.
This passage is important to the story because it shows Lily’s character development, from a lying, ignorant kid to a mature version of herself and it expresses a minor theme of the story: knowledge.