“I’ve just never heard of a Negro lawyer, that’s all. You’ve got to hear of these things before you can imagine them.”
“Bullshit. You gotta imagine what’s never been.”

This conversation, between Lily and Zach, takes place in the middle of chapter 7 and encapsulates Lily’s limited understanding of how people may transcend social roles. At this stage, Lily has really own known one African American: Rosaleen. While she cares for Rosaleen, maybe even loves her, Lily still sees Rosaleen is a domestic figure—as a woman who fits into the stereotypical role of a southern, uneducated housekeeper. Later, readers learn that August once worked as a housekeeper as well, but like Lily readers learn that August chose another life for herself. Lily believes that people have set roles, which they cannot transcend: Black women work as housekeepers, Black men do not become lawyers, and poor white women like Lily go to beauty school.

Zach and August help Lily understand the power of choice. Zach has decided to become a lawyer, and August chose to become a beekeeper. Both characters believe in themselves and in their ability to transcend the roles American society has chosen from them. Rather than simply accept their fates, Zach and August decided to work toward achieving their dreams. During their conversation, Lily does not mean to discourage or disparage Zach. She merely expresses the fact that she has never heard of an African American becoming a lawyer, much the same as she had never heard of an African American woman running a honey farm before meeting August. Zach feels empowered by his imagination: the mere act of picturing himself as a lawyer encourages this young man to work to make the image a reality. Lily will eventually discover that, through her writing, she will be able to empower the characters she writes about and engage social dilemmas that she finds restrictive. In her stories, she will depict Zach as a lawyer and Rosaleen triumphantly confronting her racist foes.