The 2008 film, The Secret Life of Bees, is an adaptation of the book by Sue Monk Kidd. The movie and book were set in 1964, in South Carolina; it was “inspired by the author’s memories of the civil rights movement” (Contemporary Literary Criticism, 183).
Identifying information about the character,
The main character of this movie is Lily Owens, played by Dakota Fanning; she is a fourteen year old petite white girl with dirty blond hair that lives on a peach farm with her father, T. Ray, and their black nanny .
2) a description of the character’s current situation or presenting problem,
Here we find Lily, an emotionally lost little girl who longs for a mother’s love. Her life has been dramatically affected by her mother’s absence. The fact that her mother died when she was four and the circumstances surrounding her mother’s death has left her in need of emotional healing. However, she isn’t afforded the opportunity as her father, T Ray, is angry and abusive and simply not there for her emotionally. She suffers from flashbacks of her mother’s death and feels she is somehow responsible. It is not just the mother's absence that haunts Lily as she grows up; it is the fuzzy memory of the circumstances of her mother's death that makes Lily secretly wonder if she is responsible for her mother’s death, forgivable, lovable, and good. (Kephart p61). 3) information about the main character’s background and family of origin,
The first scene of the movie has a jolt; Lily is hiding in the closest, while her parents are fighting. There is a gunshot, and then Lily’s narrative voice says, “"I killed my mother when I was four years old, that's what I knew about myself. She was all I wanted and I took her away. Nothing else much mattered” (The Secret Life of Bees). Lily has a flashback of her last memory of her mother which was the day she died, December 3, 1954. Lily remembers that her mother was packing that day, and then T. Ray (her father) came into the house. When T. Ray entered the bedroom, they began to fight. Lily’s mother then grabbed a gun and T. Ray snatched the gun away from her and it flung across the floor. Lily picked up the gun, and as far as she remembers, she thinks she was the one who shot her mother. This first scene gives audiences their first look at why Lily is unhappy, and that she felt guilt for what happened. Lily carries this guilt throughout the movie, and when anything bad happens she blames it on herself, because her father told Lily her entire life that it was her fault her mother ran away and died. This scene sets up the movie for why Lily leaves her father, and goes to look for answers about her mother.
4) Description of the major features of the character’s biological, psychological and social development and functioning
Lily at the beginning of the movie feels like she will never succeed at anything because of the way society treats women. There is a part where Lily and Zachary are talking about what they like, and Lily says, “I was planning on being a writer but, being an orphan and all, I do not think I have a future in it” (The Secret Life of Bees). This shows how little confidence Lily has and one of the reasons for this is because of how her father treated her, and how she saw women being treated.
The film, The Secret Life of Bees, is a powerful film full of happy and devastating moments. It is a movie that brings up issues about interracial relationships and women’s empowerment. This film portrays a young girl’s journey of finding who she really is and where she belongs. She has to deal with being a poor farmer’s daughter, who has a father who is abusive and blames her for her mother’s death. She also has to deal with trying to understand racism, not only what she thinks, but also why people treat blacks the way they do. When she finally finds her place in life, she realizes how loving people can be, especially when others