The Secret Life of Bees By Sue Monk Kidd Character Analysis May Boatright

May is a pivotal character — she not only tells Lily that Deborah once lived with them but also gives advice posthumously to June that convinces June to marry Neil. May was one of a set of twins, and her twin sister April committed suicide long before Lily came to the Boatright house. May also suffers from depression, and because of this, her sisters, June and August, keep an eye on her. Although May occasionally goes into a trance whose cause is never really explained, May mainly is oversensitive to the sadness of the world. August and June have constructed a wailing wall like the one in Jerusalem, so that May can write down the sad things and stick the notes in her wall. This seems to help her. When May finds out Zach is in jail, however, she finally reaches her limit of sadness and, going off alone, drowns herself in a river near their house. Her death helps teach Lily that out of death good things (like June's marriage) can also come, and May's death provides August an opportunity to explain the concept of rebirth.

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

According to Rosaleen, the bees swarming in Lily's bedroom are a sign of what?




Quiz