Black Madonna Honey

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The novel The Secret Life of Bees is set in South Carolina in 1964. It is the story of a 14 year old girl named Lilly. She tells the story of the summer her whole world went spinning off into a new orbit. Lilly is on a search to learn more about her mother Deborah’s life. When Lilly was 5 years old she shot and killed her mother in a terrible accident. Accompanying, Lilly on this journey is Rosaleen, her family’s African- American cook. Together they flee from the law, Lilly’s father T-ray and hitch hike to Tiburon SC. Here is where Lilly hopes to find out more about her mother. Together Lilly and Rosaleen find the very people who not only knew Deborah, but also loved her. With the help Boatwright’s Lilly’s journey was really able to begin. During which time her life dramatically changed, as she found love, truth, and a new family. Sue Monk Kidd paints a tail of a young woman on a journey of self-discovery. During this time Lilly dealt with racism, un-acceptance by her father, and dealing with the truth about her mother. This is why the novel The Secret Life of Bees can best be analyzed through historical events.

The Secret Life of Bees
The novel The secret life of bees is a very complex story. Set in South Carolina in 1964, with a girl (Lilly) the age of 14 telling the story of a summer her whole world as she says went “spinning off into a new orbit”. In the beginning of the book we learn that when she was just five years old, she accidently shot and killed her mother, Deborah, while she was arguing with Lilly’s father, T-ray, whom she never calls “Dad” because Lilly says it just never fit him. As the story unfolds, we learn that the reason her parents were fighting, was for the reason that her mother had left Lilly and T-ray for a while and had come home to collect her things and leave forever. Of course when T-ray found Deborah packing her bags to leave, he was very unhappy and confused to the whole situation. Lilly was close by during the argument outside the bedroom watching through the crack of the door. Then her mom went to the closet scrambling for something on the top shelf and suddenly, Lilly saw her mom with a gun and ran towards her trying to save her, as Lilly was running the gun fell on the floor. The rest is what Lilly knows of her life. That in the moment when the gun fell on the floor she picked it up and shot and killed her own mother. As Lilly is explaining her life at the age of 14, we learn that she has always been very neglected by T-ray and he has really only been there to punish her when he feels she has done something wrong. The only stable motherly figure in her life is their African-American cook Rosaleen, who does not offer much more than T-ray, does as far as compassion and love. The reason Lilly’s life has gone off spinning into a new orbit, is because she has always wanted to know about her mother and T-ray has never taken the time to care or let his emotions out to tell Lilly about the person Deborah was. T-ray has only been there to tell Lilly how her mother left and never came back for her. This news completely destroys Lilly and in search of a different story. Lilly captures Rosaleen and they go on a journey to find all the information she has always longed for about her mother. Lilly had always dreamt about what her mother was like and the type of person she was. So to prove to herself that T-ray was lying Lilly and Rosaleen set out on an emotional journey that will bring the two of them closer together and also, Lilly will find the connection to her mother that she has always wanted. Along the search Lilly and Rosaleen find the Boatwright’s who have a connection to Deborah, Lilly’s mother. After some time of living with them Lilly learns of the mother she never knew the good and the bad. Through all this Lilly finds love, which is taboo for the time period, realizes all the pain that T-ray has kept bottled up inside and why he has never told Lilly about her mother, and the connection she has always had with her mother but never realized. In this text, I will be discussing the importance the role of food plays in Lilly’s journey for a connection with her mother. I will also be discussing the importance of the historical roles in the novel.

In the text, Rosaleen is always found in the kitchen, mainly because she is the cook for T-ray and Lilly. Also this was her place; she was not to be anywhere else in the house because she was an African- American. Although in reading the text the importance of the kitchen is huge. The kitchen is where T-ray punishes Lilly and makes her kneel on the “Martha Whites” (grits) when he found that Lilly had done something wrong. The Kitchen is also the place where Rosaleen and Lilly chat in the morning during breakfast; it’s where Rosaleen presents Lilly with her birthday cake, where Rosaleen asks T-ray for money to take Lilly into town to buy a training bra. The kitchen is where Lilly asks T-ray for one thing for her birthday and that is to hear about her mother. Each event that happens in the kitchen plays a significant role in the text.
Lilly said T-ray made her kneel on the Martha Whites quite often, but one particular night when she had to kneel on them Lilly really came to the end of her rope with T-ray. It all started when Lilly woke up in the night after T-ray had gone to bed. Lilly had only a small box of items from her mother that she found in the attic, one of the items being a piece of wood with a picture of a lady almost looking like the virgin Mary, but black. This picture was glued to the front of the wooden block, and on the back, it had written on it Tiburon, SC. Lilly hid items in the peach orchard away from T-ray in fear that he would go crazy if he found them or knew she had the items. So on this night, Lilly went out to dig up the items that belonged to her mother and just rest with them on her chest in the orchard. T-ray ends up waking up and realizing that Lilly is gone, so he goes searching for her. Lilly hears T-ray angrily making his way to find her, as Lilly can hear him getting closer. She is quickly trying to button her blouse from where she had her mother’s pictures and gloves resting on her bare chest. T-ray finds Lilly with a half buttoned shirt lying in the orchard and accuses her of being with a boy, so when they get to the house and he pours out a pile of the Martha whites on the floor and makes her kneel on them for an hour. This part of the story is significant because, Lilly had done nothing wrong she just wanted to try and be close to her mother. And because T-ray will never try to understand Lilly and tell her about her mother, he has no clue what Lilly does to try and be close with her mother. In return she gets punished for it, but Lilly never explains because T-ray will never understand, and he will just get angry anyway.
This same night after Lilly has been allowed to get up off the Martha Whites, she asks T-ray while still in the kitchen to tell her of Deborah for her birthday the next day. T-ray of course goes into a rage, and rants that Deborah never loved Lilly. She left the both of them and came back only for her clothes she did not come back to pick up Lilly. This totally devastates Lilly and by this time the argument has traveled up the stairs, and they are now in Lilly’s room and T-ray is about to hit Lilly. She screams that she hates T-ray and he is lying. T-ray laughs and walks away this ends the scene until the next morning.
It was Lilly’s birthday; Rosaleen met her in the kitchen with an Angel food cake. They both ate two slices with milk for breakfast that day. Rosaleen can’t help but notice the Lilly limping into the kitchen that morning. She asks what happened and Lilly proceeds to tell Rosaleen of how T-ray made her kneel on the Martha Whites, and then shows Rosaleen her knee’s that are raw and red from the hour that she had to spend on them.
The day that Lilly and Rosaleen go into town a lot happens due to racial issues between the white and black races due to the civil rights act. Rosaleen is now in a hospital because she has been beaten. Lilly has been picked up and taken home by T-ray who is furious with her for getting them into that kind of a situation in town. Lilly very upset and done dealing with T-ray and his erratic personality, decides to run away and go on a search to find out about her mother. She captures Rosaleen out of the hospital, and they run away together. Hitch hiking to the town of Tiburon, the name of the town written on the back of the wooden plaque Lilly’s mother had. Rosaleen and Lilly eventually make their way to Tiburon. Lilly and Rosaleen stop to get something to eat at the general store, and this is where Lilly sees many jars of honey with the same picture that is on her mother’s plaque, the black Virgin Mary. She asks the man working in the store where the honey is from and he says it is from August Boatwright. Rosaleen and Lilly set out to find the Boatwright’s and once they arrive at their house. Lilly makes up a story about why they are there, August lets them in and they end up living there for some time. Interestingly enough while they are staying with the Boatwright’s Rosaleen is found in the kitchen again. Helping one of the Boatwright sisters May, who is emotionally unstable from the death of her twin sister April. We learn in the text that May does the cooking for the family because it helps her deal with the pain better and keeps her mind off of everything else upsetting in the world. Not only is food nourishment for life but it also a way of dealing and coping with the weight of the world for some people. During Rosaleen and Lilly’s stay at the Boatwright’s, there is a sister named June who also lives in the house and she is very apprehensive about the new guests that they have accepted into their home. So because June is not as comfortable with the situation as August and May are, she torments Lilly to make her feel unwelcome. The only time June speaks to Lilly is at the dinner table, every night June asks the same question. “So how are things coming Lilly?” Lilly knows what June really wants to ask, when Lilly and Rosaleen intend on leaving? It’s funny how this happens at the dinner table and no other time they speak to one another. It’s almost like at the dinner table with food and her Sisters behind her, June feels empowered to say what’s on her mind and not be afraid of the outcome.
During Lilly’s and Rosaline’s stay with the Boatwright’s, Lilly finds a connection to her mother through the honey. In the first couple of weeks of staying with the August, Lilly does not tell her about why they are truly there. Because Lilly is afraid that if she does then August will turn them away and call her father to come pick her up. Eventually, Lilly ends up telling August the real reason her and Rosaleen are there. What’s funny is that August has known the whole time because Lilly looks just like her mother. August was just waiting for Lilly to be comfortable and tell her in her own time, this is why she has been so “okay” with the whole situation of them staying with her. August then tells Lilly of her little secret, and how much she looks like her mother. They also do the same things, without Lilly every knowing her mother had the same likes and quirks. They both lured insects out of the house with graham crackers and marshmallows instead of stepping on them, and Deborah had learned this from May. The whole time Lilly has longed to know all about her mother she has been staring her in the mirror. Lilly only finds this out through the honey, if she would have never stopped at the general store for sandwiches. Lilly may have never found August and realized just how much she was like her mother and in fact Lilly has always known her mother, she just didn’t know it because T-ray would never tell her.
On this journey Lilly also finds love, while working with August making honey, and taking care of the bees. Lilly met an African- American boy named Zach who is a year older than she is who also works with August, tending to the bees and delivering the honey to local merchants. While working together they both realize their attraction to one another, but know it is totally taboo, because Lilly is white and Zach is African-American. Although neither one can deny their feelings for one another, through a tragic event their relationship takes a turn for the worse. This makes Lilly and Zach really think about the consequences of being together. After some thought Lilly and Zach still chose to be together, and in the end they are happy. Again if Lilly would have never ran away from home and stumbled across the General store, she would have never found Zach and may have potentially lost out on the chance to meet the love of her life.
All the roles of the food items play very significant parts in this novel. The most important item being the honey, through just one item a person’s whole life totally changed and evolved into something totally unexpected. Lilly set out to find out about her mother and in return she gain a family filled with love. T-ray finds her in the end and she chooses to stay and live with the Boatwright’s. June ends up softening her heart and getting along quite well with Lilly and Rosaleen. The honey is such a vital key in this story, it’s the glue to the family it sticks them together, its sweet and delicious, the color is amber and warm just like the feelings they all have for one another. Without the secrets the bees hold the story would make no sense, it all comes together because of what the bees hold within.
The historical evidence that the novel provides is very important to many of the key events that happen within the text. We see racial issues, Lilly, being the daisy duke of the story and the history of T-ray’s and Lilly’s relationship and why it was the way it was.
The reason Lilly and Rosaleen went into town the 4th of July was so that Rosaleen could register herself to vote. During this walk into town she and Lilly ran into some white men that hassled Rosaleen about signing her name and that she could probably not even write her own name. This sparked the wrong nerve in Rosaleen because she took her can of spit from the tobacco she chewed and wrote her name over the tops of the White men’s shoes. In return they immediately started to beat Rosaleen in front of Lilly, and they were demanding that Rosaleen apologize. She would not apologize to the men. The police arrived and called T-ray to come and get Lilly and they took Rosaleen to jail. Later that day the men showed up at the jail house and again beat Rosaleen with a flashlight across the head. She was then taken to the hospital to get a bandage. This is when Lilly went back into town and broke Rosaleen out of the hospital and ran praying that the police would not find them. Lilly and Rosaleen had to run, because if they were caught then Rosaleen would have been killed for sure and who knows what would have happened to Lilly by T-ray. This scene marks a common but major occurrence during this time period. The racial tension was so high back in those times; it was always the black person that was at fault for whatever happened. Rosaleen not apologizing was a way for her to stand up for herself. Even though she was getting beat for it, it was her only way to not let the white man win.
In this novel we find Lilly as being the “Daisy Duke” saving the person in trouble and making their way to safety until the storm passed. The way Lilly was devious and tricked the police officer to get him away from the hospital door where Rosaleen was so she could get in and save her. Then Rosaleen and Lilly had to jump out of the hospital room window as their only way of escape. Then hitch hiking to somewhere near Tiburon and sleeping in the woods that night before they would try and find someone that knew Lilly’s mother. It was a very heroic and dramatic scene in the novel, if Lilly would have not been able to capture Rosaleen. I don’t think Lilly would have been able to make it to Tiburon on her own and find out about her mother like she did. Even though it seemed like Lilly was the one saving Rosaleen, I think in a way Rosaleen was the one saving Lilly and making her feel safe. They both needed each other; it is like a co-dependent relationship.
Throughout the whole novel it is made to seem like T-ray punishes Lilly because she killed her mother. From the way he makes her kneel on the Martha Whites for dumb reasons. How she has to sit at the peach stand all summer and do nothing. Lilly loves to read and write and T-ray will not allow her to have a book or a journal while she is tending to the peach stand all day. We also get this impression from the way T-ray speaks to Lilly and the things he says to her. They are never nice words and they always seem degrading or that T-ray is disgusted with Lilly. Maybe even implied that he does not even like or love Lilly. This is very traumatic for Lilly because she knows it was an accident what happened to her mother, but T-ray will never forgive Lilly or even try and be nice to her. This pattern is consistent throughout the whole text, until one day T-ray finds Lilly at the Boatwright’s and shows up on the front step. He is greeted by Rosaleen and T-ray immediately knows that Lilly is there and is demanding to see her. Lilly shows up and T-ray goes ballistic and grabs Lilly by the arms and starts to shake her and just as T-ray really goes to hit Lilly on the face with his fist. She screams “Daddy it’s me Lilly”. T-ray is so shocked, his hands immediately let go of Lilly and T-rays says you look just like her. Now August comes on to the scene and T-ray is demanding for Lilly to get in the truck that she is going home with him. Lilly is refusing and says that August wants her, and indeed she does. So August chimes in and says Lilly is welcome to stay here as long as she need to. We will get her enrolled into school and she will be just fine. T-ray let Lilly stay with August, and drove off that day never to be seen again. The tragedy of this whole story, Lilly went her whole life being treated unfairly by T-ray and never knowing why except for the fact that she had shot her mother. When the real reason T-ray treated Lilly poorly is because, she was so much like Deborah he could hardly even stand to look at her. Without being reminded of Deborah and how it all ended. Lilly believes as it is said in the end of the novel that in T-rays own small way that he loved her.
There is one more huge historical event that happens in the novel and really creates a huge chain of events that may be the end of Lilly and Zach’s relationship and may break her relationship with August and new found liking for June. As Zach and Lilly’s relationship starts to evolve he takes her to the movies and in this time period it was against the law for black and white people to be in the theater together. Zach went in his door to the theater and Lilly went in her door to see the movie. Well, Lilly being strong willed, snuck into the black theater to sit with Zach and some white men on the street caught on to their scheme and went into the theater and beat Zach and took him away. Lilly ran home and was crying and told August, June and Rosaleen. But they did not tell May because they knew this information may really upset her and put her over the edge. The next day, when the search team still could not find Zach, his mother was over at the Boatwright’s and was crying on the porch, May found her outside. She asked what was wrong and Zach’s mother not knowing she should not tell May, Zach’s mother told May what happened. May became very upset but this time in a different way. May had what was called a wailing wall for her to go and cry when she was upset. This time May did not cry she just stood up and left Zach’s mom. Later when Lilly and everyone came inside they called out for May and could not find her. So they all went out to the wailing wall to find her, but could not so August took the path to the river and found May’s shoes on the side of the river and then found May lying under the water with a stone on top of her chest. May had killed herself, because she could not handle the weight of the world any longer. Lilly felt so terrible, it was all because of her that Zach was beaten, and May had taken the road she did. This of course caused all her relationships to be in Jeopardy and to possibly fall apart. But because of the love they all had for each other and the honey that glued them together nothing changed. Her relationship with Zach still continued, when the search team found him. Lilly sincerely apologized and their relationship mended. August and June were not upset with Lilly they did not blame her, they knew that one day it would be May’s time to go, and that particular day was the one.
All the historical events that occur in this text are very important to the way the honey plays its role. They honey is what leads people on their paths to one another, what helps them stick together during the hard times, and what helps them find a way back to the light. Without the honey this family would be lost. The black Virgin Mary as the logo of the honey also plays a role as to how the family is guided by the honey and protects them. In the text, August explains the story of the black Mary, and how they have faith and trust invested in her to guide and direct their paths. She also tells of how the black Mary watches out for them during the hard times and she will take away the pain. This is important to the honey and the connection with the family. Not only does the honey glue the family together, in a way it also protects them from harm. Like a clear coat on nail polish. It protects the surface of the nail and the polish from being damaged. This is what the honey does for the family, sometimes they run into a road block, but the honey acts as a shield and protects them from being harmed.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

You will need the following;
Pastry Crust for 1 pie shell
4oz Milk Choclate Chips
1c. Light Corn Syrup
1c. Dark Brown Sugar, packed
3 large eggs
2T unsalted butter melted
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/4 tsp Salt
1c. Pecans Chopped
Make pastry dough of choice roll out on floured surface and shape in pie plate. Spread evenly the chocolate chips in the bottom of the pie shell. Mix the remaining ingredients, except the pecans and whip until well combined. Mix in the pecans and pour into pie shell. Bake in a 350 oven for 55-60 minutes until golden brown and puffed. Cool completely.
Whipped Cream
1c. Whipping Cream
1/4 Powdered Sugar
2T Brandy
With whisk whip together the cream and sugar until soft peaks. Drizzle with brandy. Dollop on completely cooled pie and serve.
This pie was so simple to make. It was such a breeze. I can see why Ryan made this pie to take to the thanksgiving dinner he was invited to. He wanted to take something to be kind to the family, so he chose to make what his family always had, yet one of the easier dishes non the less!. I truly enjoy pecan pies so this is why I wanted to make it and they definitely reminded me of Thanksgiving. It seems the only appropriate time to eat them. I agree with ryan that this is a Thanksgiving meal staple.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


This blog is for my Comp and Com class. Here is where I will write all that is necessary for the class. Enjoy!


About Me

My photo
I am currently in Culinary School.