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The Secret Life of Bees

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In the film “The Secret Life of Bees” directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood an important idea was motherhood. It was the strongest idea in the film and can be described as the linkage of the story. It showed you the effects of guilt and the importance of love and home. Lily Owens was the character that most strongly connected to this idea. Visual and oral features such as costume, music, and camera movement help us understand the idea of motherhood throughout the film. The first time the theme of the importance of motherhood was portrayed was in the opening scenes of the film when Lilt accidentally shot her mother. The oral technique of dialogue effectively combined with the visual shots to help me understand a little of how Lily’s mother couldn’t be there for her as she was too weak to stand up to her husband T. Ray. We hear the argument between Lily’s mother and her father leading to her mother calling out “Lily!” This use of dialogue made me understand the idea that Lily’s mother was in trouble and a victim-therefore, not able to properly protect her daughter.

Another visual technique used that helped me to understand Lily’s loss and feeling of grief and self-blame at losing her mother which lasted through her childhood was the use of low-key lighting and close-up shots in the scene immediately after her mother’s death. The lack of mothering love and protection for Lily resulted her being in a routine of abuse from her father T. Ray. Lily did experience mothering love from other important people in her life. The first person who showed her this was her nanny, Rosaleen. A scene in which this mothering love became apparent was after Lily had been harshly punished by her father when he mistakenly believed her night visit to view her mother’s belongings was in order to meet a boy. It was her birthday and Rosaleen had baked a cake. Several camera shots showed how Rosaleen was taking the role of Lily’s mother and standing up to T. Ray on Lily’s behalf.

A combination of visual and oral techniques helped emphasize this idea. Lily also found nurturing mothering love in the sanctuary of the Boatwright home-particularly from the matriarch of the Boatwright home, August. A scene which showed this motherly love in action was August was teaching Lily about the bees. “…women make the best beekeepers, because they have a special ability built into them to love creatures that sting. It comes from years of loving children and husbands.” The bee that August was talking about symbolized Lily’s mother as she had endured many years of T. Ray. In conclusion I have stated that an important idea was motherhood and motherly love in the film “The Secret Life of Bees” directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood. I have outlined how oral and visual techniques were used to make me understand this idea in relation to Lily’s coming-of-age.

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