Compare and contrast the ways in which Lily and Zach are restricted by their ethnicities.

In what ways does Lily change throughout the course of the novel? In the end, in what ways has she grown up? In what ways might she still be a child?

At the end of the novel, T. Ray decides to let Lily stay in Tiburon. Is this decision in keeping with his character? Why or why not?

Discuss the novel’s religious symbolism. Is The Secret Life of Bees a religious novel? Why or why not?

In what ways does Lily’s mother, Deborah, actually serve as Lily’s guardian angel? How does Deborah manage to help, teach, and love Lily, even though she died when Lily was small?

What is the significance of August’s discussion of “motherly love” with Lily? Does August practice what she preaches?