Lily Owens is the main character in the book “The Secret Life of Bees”. Lily type of character s the protagonist and also the narrator of the book. Lily was a 14-year-old teenage girl living in the fictional town of Sylvan, South Carolina in the time of 1964. She lives on a peach farm with her father who she calls T.Ray. her father(T.Ray) who beats, punishes, and abuses her. Her mother whose name is Deborah was killed by Lily who was 4-years-old at the time and picked up a gun and accidentally shot her mother when her parents were having a argument. After 14 years of abusement from T.Ray she had enough and went on the run with Rosaleen. They ended up at the Boatwright house where they are staying and living and helping the Boatwright sisters. Through her interactions with others, Lily gains strength in her thinking of being self-sustained, understanding of bais, and loving connections in her life. Lily’s sense of humor allows her to overcome obstacles and survive, and she comes to an understanding of her longing for her mother, her ability to forgive, and her growth that takes her far beyond her father’s lack of humanity.
Ever since her mom died Lily has been beaten and abused by T.Ray, but by Lily seeing Rosaleen’s courage also gives Lily courage and strength within herself. Her father physically and emotionally beats her and punishes her viciously , and Lily has no other choice but to take the punishments. But, after seeing Rosaleen’s nerve and self control in the face of getting beat and being put in jail, Lily finds a little piece of her that wants to be independent and original/clevor thinking. When Lily is trying to escape and go to Tiburon she learned how to lie and she was very convincing. After going against what her father said and leaving her home; is something that Lily never thought of considering. She uses her intelligence — a brain that her father thought was a waste to educate — to create and live in a false past, pick up new sets of skills, and also reflect on the people and events she is witnessing around herself. In the end, she finally finds the courage and self-confidence to stand up to her father once and for all.
Racism is a big problem in South Carolina in 1964, and although people like T. Ray and Rosaleen know far to well how dangerous it is, Lily is still to young to understand, and that danger of not knowing will become part of her education. When T. Ray tells Lily on the way home that Rosaleen will probably die in the hands of racists whites, Lily instantly starts thinking of ways to save her. Later in the book, the news on the television tells Lily facts and shows her pictures, the incident that sent Zach to jail was a stronger education lesson. Lily finally realizes that the whites in Tiburon do not think she should live with the Boatwrights and the people would certainly frown upon on any relationship with Zach. However, Zach tries to encourage Lily to picture a racist free world in order to encourage her to try to start a relationship . The lessons that T.Ray taught her over the years about race are being proved wrong to her , and one idea after another fails. When Lily finally sees that June is showing dislike against her because she is white and the story she told the Boatwrights, Lily is flabbergasted and recognizes how wrong and rude June is to judge Lily without even knowing who she is. In contrast Lily reflects again on this idea that June has brought to her and starts to wonder about it.
One of the reasons Lily is surviving, is that one after another of lessons she was thought have been shattered, and she has a great sense of the amusing ideas. She as even having a conversation with God, asking him why he couldn’t stay with his “original idea about Paradise.” Her sense of humor gets her through many situations, including her father’s abuse — she muses that many children have a parent who doesn’t love them but wonders why must she have two? Perhaps she developed her sense of the absurd to shield herself from pain.
Throughout her story, Lily feels a deep sense of longing for her mother and a need to connect with other human beings. She reflects on the mother she allegedly killed and compares herself to her unknown mother, always coming up short. She imagines her mother romantically, doing things ideal mothers do, like brushing Lily’s hair. Lily goes to Tiburon in search of her mother, not knowing whether her mother had really been there. After August presents Lily with her mother’s items, she finds the photo of her mother feeding her as a child, and all the longing and sadness of her life is contained in her reaction. Through August and Zach, Lily begins to find loving connections to humans who treat her like she is a human being. The teacher who first encouraged her began that connection, and Rosaleen followed it up. Now the Boatright home and sisters show her what it is to be part of a community who loves her. Zach also believes in her, giving her a journal for writing her thoughts. This group of people gives her the courage to stand up to her father.
In forgiving both herself and her mother, Lily becomes a better person than her father. All her life, she has accused herself and beaten herself up mentally for her mother’s death. She also has been bitter and angry about her mother’s leaving her. But in the end, Lily finds a way to forgive both her mother and father and, in doing so, she begins to see her father’s bitterness and anger over being left by Deborah. Lily reaches out to him, but he can’t see his own way to forgiveness. Being able to see his viewpoint is the final step in Lily’s growing into a young woman who believes in her worth and can love others.