The Secret Life of Bees

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The Moon Symbol Icon

Traditionally, the moon has been associated with women, and Kidd recognizes this throughout the book, as the moon is one of the most conspicuous symbols of femininity. At one point, we’re told that President Kennedy is going to send a rocket to the moon—an action that August fears will destroy the moon’s mystique. Kidd uses this historical detail to convey the purity and mystery of being a woman—a purity that deteriorates whenever women come into contact with men (symbolized by a threatening, phallic rocket).

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The Moon Symbol Timeline in The Secret Life of Bees

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Moon appears in The Secret Life of Bees. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Mothers and Daughters Theme Icon
Religion, Guilt, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...waits for her father to fall asleep, and then sneaks outside to watch the full moon. She goes to a tree and digs up the tin box that contains her mother’s... (full context)
Chapter 6
Race, America, and the 1960s Theme Icon
Mothers and Daughters Theme Icon
Religion, Guilt, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Ceremony and Ritual Theme Icon
...Lily watch a news report about how President Kennedy will send a rocket to the moon soon. August whispers to Lily that she’s seeing “the end of something.” August explains that... (full context)
Chapter 14
Race, America, and the 1960s Theme Icon
Mothers and Daughters Theme Icon
Religion, Guilt, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...concludes that she is lucky: she has many, many mothers. She compares the mothers to “moons shining over me.” (full context)