The Secret Life of Bees

by: Sue Monk Kidd

August Boatwright

Characters August Boatwright

August Boatwright is unique. Not only is she a black woman in the South who runs a successful business, but she is a black woman who also owns a great deal of property, is educated, has eschewed the conventions of marriage, and does not flinch or shy away from the opportunity to take care of a young white runaway girl. A rare soul and a warm, accepting person, August guides the cowed and browbeaten Lily to a place from which she confidently confronts her confusing, unfair world. In a way, August functions as the spiritual core of the book, the wise sage that leads the novel toward its positive conclusion. Without August, there would be no “of age” in Lily’s “coming-of-age.” Although she too is a pawn in the greater events of the world, she has created a remarkable community in Tiburon and infused it with her own brand of spiritual gusto. August becomes a surrogate mother for Lily, a trusted friend, and guiding light. August’s undying support, trust, and love saves Lily—just as this love has softened June, kept May alive, created and supported the Daughters of Mary, and given Zach something to hope for in the future.