The Secret Life of Bees takes place in 1964. During that time period there were a lot of racial issues and this book portrays some of these incidents very well. The prejudice in this book changed some of the characters forever. The first prejudice incident that occurred was to Rosaleen. She was a strong opinionated black woman. Since the Civil Rights Act was passed she wanted to go vote and finally have a voice.
On her way to go become a registered voter she was stopped by ignorance. Three white men decided to stop her and Lily and bother them. They asked her where she was going and insulted her. As a result Rosaleen stood up for herself by pouring her snuff spit on their shoes. They beat her and had her thrown in jail. This act of prejudice almost broke Rosaleen but instead it made her stronger. April was May’s twin. April and May were sweet and thoughtful. All April wanted to do was eat in the ice cream shop but ignorance did not allow it.
This act of prejudice did change her because it was the first step into her depression. When she turned fifteen she couldn’t take it anymore so April decided to commit suicide. The act of prejudice broke her spirit and after a while ended her life. It really impacted two character’s lives. After April died May became very emotional and carried the weight of the world. May committed suicide because of her sister’s death and all of the burdens she carried. Another act of prejudice happened to Zach.
He was smart and set many goals for his self like becoming a lawyer. News of a white movie star and his black girlfriend coming to the movie had spread through the town. It angered a group of white men so they went to the movie theater to wait on them. Zach and Lily arrived at the wrong time. Zach’s friends and the men got into an altercation and one of his friends threw a bottle at his nose. No one would tell the police who did it so Zach and his friends went to jail. When Zach got released from jail he acted strange towards Lily.
He became very distant. After a while he returned to normal and expressed his feeling towards her. He also stated that he wanted to kill someone sometimes. This prejudice act gave him more motivation to become a lawyer. It changed him for a little while but not permanently. These acts of prejudice have changed characters for the better or worse. In some cases it affected more than one person. They had negative effects on everyone and positive effects on some of the characters.