The Secret Life of Bees

The Color Blue Symbol Icon

At several points, Kidd reminds us that Lily Owen’s favorite color is blue—in fact, when she calls her father, she makes a point of asking him about this. It’s no coincidence that Lily likes blue, considering the novel’s Christian themes: in Christian iconography, blue is the traditional color of the Virgin Mary. Thus, Lily’s love for blue symbolizes her desire for a strong maternal figure. Because of the departure of her biological mother, Lily looks for mother figures wherever she goes: like Rosaleen, August, and the Virgin Mary herself.

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The Color Blue Symbol Timeline in The Secret Life of Bees

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Color Blue appears in The Secret Life of Bees. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 8
Mothers and Daughters Theme Icon
Religion, Guilt, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...quite unexpectedly, what she “loves.” Lily answers that she loves writing and reading, the color blue, Rosaleen, and Coca-Cola. (full context)
Chapter 10
Race, America, and the 1960s Theme Icon
Mothers and Daughters Theme Icon
...Leading up to the vigil, the Boatwrights bring May’s body—which is pale, and dressed in blue—into their home. As she stares at May’s lifeless body, Lily thinks that this was the... (full context)
Chapter 11
Mothers and Daughters Theme Icon
Religion, Guilt, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Lying, Storytelling, and Confession Theme Icon
Ceremony and Ritual Theme Icon
...to make Lily a hat for the festivities. Lily accepts, on the condition that it’s blue. In the evening, Zach and the Daughters arrive at the house, and everyone celebrates Mary... (full context)
Chapter 12
Mothers and Daughters Theme Icon
Religion, Guilt, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...about Deborah. She’s only been here once before: this time, she notices that everything is blue. She also sees an aquarium that contains honeycomb. Lily finds a book on August’s shelf,... (full context)
Chapter 13
Mothers and Daughters Theme Icon
Religion, Guilt, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Lying, Storytelling, and Confession Theme Icon
Ceremony and Ritual Theme Icon
Later, August comes to Lily’s room with the blue hat she’s promised Lily. She also gives Lily a box containing some of Deborah’s old... (full context)
Chapter 14
Race, America, and the 1960s Theme Icon
Mothers and Daughters Theme Icon
...months to come, Lily continues to stay with the Boatwrights. She decorates her room with blue, and goes to the Daughters of Mary meetings. Forrest tells Lily that he’s “working things... (full context)