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The bees are the microcosm of Lily's life. The bees do not leave the open jar when Lily is in her loveless home. When the bees does escape, Lily decides it's time for her to get away from her abusive father too.
Racism is an important theme. Throughout the novel Lily sees the endless series of tragedies happening because of racism. Black Americans are arrested without ground, beaten by the police and harassed by racist people.
Lily learns about the power of female community at the Boat-wright. Although she lacks a mother, she has female companionship such as Rosaleen and August. Because of them, Lily begins to feel empowerd as a woman.
Lily suffers tremendous guilt for killing her mother when she was a baby. By escaping from her old life, Lily is able to overcome guilt and find truth through seeking knowledge rather than forgiveness.
The theme of appearance vs reality is also important. Lily has romantic illusions about her mother and a happy home, but in real life, her mother is dead and her father abusive.
The major theme of the book is expressed in the title: secret life. many people don't have an idea about all the complicated life going on inside a hive". similarly, people's lives are usually more complicated than they theme too. by understand this, Lily is able to understand the people around her more, amd learn more about her mother.
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