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.
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.
...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)
...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)