The Secret Life of Bees

by: Sue Monk Kidd

Zach Taylor

Characters Zach Taylor

Zach Taylor serves as a type of foil for Lily. Born and raised in Tiburon, and never without the love and support of the Boatwright sisters, he has grown up with many advantages. He is good at sports, handsome, intelligent, and hardworking—and he has been praised and paid because of these traits. However, as a black man in the mid-century South, Zach is at a disadvantage. Nevertheless, Zach does not let his race act as a negative force in his life. Lily’s different skin color does not prevent Zach from falling in love with her, nor does his skin color prevent him from dreaming about becoming a lawyer (despite the fact that he does not know any black lawyers). Instead, the difficulties of being African American inspire Zach to imagine a better, more productive future for himself. When he is imprisoned as a result of his race, and for his refusal to turn in a friend, he merely becomes more empowered, more driven, and more focused on changing the course of his life. He not only offers Lily love but also serves as a model for her. He helps Lily transcend her own circumstances. Through Zach, readers may imagine a version of what Lily would have been like with a different set of advantages—and what she will grow into at the end of the novel.