The Secret Life of Bees by SparkNotes

The Secret Life of Bees by SparkNotes

Author:SparkNotes [SparkNotes]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Published: 0101-01-01T00:00:00+00:00

Chapter 8


When a new shipment of Black Madonna labels for the honey jars arrives, August asks Lily to help her apply them. During their work, they begin to talk about the things they love. August explains the symbolism behind the black Mary and talks about how the statue entered her possession. In addition, they talk more generally about female strength, and August explains to Lily why she decided to never get married: she did not want to give up her autonomy. Afterward, they go to the hives and listen to the secret sounds bees make while inside their homes. Lily learns that the queen bee is the mother of thousands and that the bees fly out and cover her body. Lily stays calm while the bees dance on her skin. August tells Lily that they need to have a talk. Lily knows why, and she gets nervous. At home, May makes a special lunch because she has avoided the wailing wall for five straight days. At lunch, Zach reports on a rumor: a white movie star is coming to town and intends to see a movie with his black girlfriend. No one is sure whether to believe this rumor, but everyone agrees the rumor itself could cause some serious unrest in town.

After lunch, Zach goes to drop off honey at the office of Clayton Forrest, and Lily asks to go with him. Hesitating, August lets her. At the office, Zach introduces Lily to Mr. Forrest’s secretary, Ms. Lacy, who is surprised to learn Lily is staying at the home of a black person. When she leaves, Mr. Forrest introduces himself to Lily and calls her pretty. Startled, Lily almost forgets her made-up last name. Zach and Mr. Forrest go into Mr. Forrest’s office to look at some cases, leaving Lily alone. Lily begins to look around and finds a picture of Mr. Forrest with his daughter. In it, both look very happy. Lily begins to think about her father and decides to call him. Upon hearing his voice, she gets emotional. But T. Ray gets hostile, scolds her for running away, and demands to know where she is. Lily refuses, tries to apologies, and asks T. Ray if he knows her favorite color. He doesn’t answer her question but threatens to hurt her when he finds her. She hangs up.

Zach returns, looking proud and holding a large law book. He calls it the beginning of his law library. Mr. Forrest then begins to ask Lily personal questions, about her family and hometown. Lily, faking “female trouble,” tells Zach that she needs to go, and they say goodbye to Mr. Forrest. Back at the honey house, Lily writes T. Ray a letter she knows she could never send. In it, she tells T. Ray that she does not love him and describes how horrible he has been toward her. She also tells him that she does not believe that her mother left her. After writing it, she rips the letter up.


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