40+ Best The Secret Life of Bees Quotes: Exclusive Selection

The Secret Life of Bees is a fiction book by the American author Sue Monk Kidd. Set in 1964, it is a coming-of-age story about loss and betrayal. The book received critical acclaim and was a New York Times bestseller. Profoundly inspirational The Secret Life of Bees quotes will brighten up your day and make you feel ready to take on anything.

If you’re searching for deep quotes from books that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of inspiring The Awakening quotes, powerful The Bell Jar quotes and famous When Breath Becomes Air quotes.

Famous The Secret Life of Bees Quotes

July 1, 1964, I lay in bed waiting for the bees to show up, thinking of what Rosaleen had said when I told her about their nightly visitations. Bees swarm before death, shed said. — Lily-Rosaleen

. . . I looked around me, and it was like seeing everything through a trains thick window. A blur passed before me. A moving wave of color. I am not one of you, I thought. — Lily

[Mary] will not be cast down and bound up … And neither will her daughters. — August Boatwright

Turned on its side, the brick announced a happy bee family, no Ozzie, just Harriet and her ten thousand daughters. — Lily

August said, We sit with her so we can tell her good-bye. Its called a vigil. Sometimes people have a hard time letting death sink in, they cant say good-bye. A vigil helps us do that. If the dead person is right there in your living room, it would certainly make things sink in better. It was strange to think about a dead person in the house, but if it helped us say good-bye better, then okay, I could see the point of it. — Lily-August

Good riddance, he said, and moved toward the door. We had to open up our little wall of women to let him through. — Lily-T. Ray

[You gotta] imagine what’s never been. — Zachary Taylor

We cant think of changing our skin, he said. Change the world—thats how we gotta think. — Lily-Zach

Someone who thinks death is the scariest thing doesnt know a thing about life. — Lily

There is nothing but mystery in the world … and we don’t even know it. — Lily Owens

You act like you’re my keeper. Like I’m some dumb nigger you gonna save. — Rosaleen Daise

You have to find a mother inside yourself. We all do. — August Boatwright

[The black Mary] made me feel my glory and my shame at the same time. — Lily Owens

Please, Lily, you are insulting your fine intelligence. Do you have any idea how smart you are? — Lily-Mrs. Henry

June played with her eyes closed, as if Mays spirit getting into heaven depended solely on her. You have never heard such music, how it made us believe death was nothing but a doorway. — Lily-June

Some things happen in a literal way, [others not] … but they still happen. — August Boatwright

Life gives way into death, … death turns around and gives way into life. — August Boatwright

Our mother said she was like Mary, with her heart on the outside of her chest. — August

Well if you have a queen and a group of independent-minded bees that split off from the rest of the hive and look for another place to live, then youve got a swarm. — August

[When stories die,] we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here. — August Boatwright

If this was a mans world, a veil took the rough beard right off. Everything appeared softer, nicer. When I walked behind August in my bee veil, I felt like a moon floating behind a night cloud. — Lily-August

Egg laying is the main thing, Lily. Shes the mother of every bee in the hive, and they all depend on her to keep it going. I dont care what their job is—they know the queen is their mother. Shes the mother of thousands. — Lily-August

That night I lay in bed and thought about dying and going to be with my mother in paradise. I would meet her saying, Mother, forgive. Please forgive, and she would kiss my skin till it grew chapped and tell me I was not to blame. She would tell me this for the first ten thousand years. — Lily

It was you who did it, Lily. You didnt mean it, but it was you. — Lily

This was a great revelation—not that I was white but that it seemed like June might not want me here because of my skin color. I hadnt known this was possible—to reject people for being white. — Lily-June

Its funny how you forget the rules. She was not supposed to be inside here. Every time a rumor got going about a group of Negroes coming to worship with us on Sunday morning, the deacons stood locked-arms across the church stems to turn them away. We loved them in the Lord, Brother Gerald said, but they had their own places. — Lily

I hadn’t known this was possible—to reject people for being white. — Lily Owens

Please, Lily, you are insulting your fine intelligence. Do you have any idea how smart you are? — Lily-Mrs. Henry

We can’t think of changing our skin … Change the world—that’s how we gotta think. — Zachary Taylor

Most people dont have any idea about all the complicated life going on inside a hive. Bees have a secret life we dont know anything about. — August

Putting black cloths on the hives is for us. I do it to remind us that life gives way into death, and then death turns around and gives way into life. — August

I live in a hive of darkness, and you are my mother, I told her. You are the mother of thousands. — Lily

T. Ray did not think colored women were smart. Since I want to tell the whole truth, which means the worst parts, I thought they could be smart, but not as smart as me, me being white. Lying on the cot in the honey house, though, all I could think was August is so intelligent, so cultured, and I was surprised by this. Thats what let me know I had some prejudice buried inside me. — Lily-T. Ray

I loved the idea of bees having a secret life, just like [mine]. — Lily Owens

But I will tell you this secret thing, which not one of them saw, not even August, the thing that brought me the most cause for gladness. It was how Sugar-Girl said what she did, like I was truly one of them. Not one person in the room said, Sugar-Girl, really, talking about white people like that and we have a white person present. They didnt even think of me being different. — Lily-SugarGirl

People can start out one way, and … end up completely different. — August Boatwright

Knowing can be a curse on a person’s life. — Lily Owens

Lily, I like you better than any girl Ive ever known, but you have to understand, there are people who would kill boys like me for even looking at girls like you. — Lily-Zach

It seemed like the world itself became May’s twin sister. — August Boatwright

. . . Big Mama kept bees, too, right out there in the same spot theyre in today. Nobody around here had ever seen a lady beekeeper till her. She liked to tell everybody that women made the best beekeepers, cause they have a special ability built into them to love creatures that sting. It comes from years of loving children and husbands, shed say. — August

Covering the hives was supposed to keep the bees from leaving. You see, the last thing they wanted was their bees swarming off when a death took place. Having bees around was supposed to ensure that the dead person would live again. My eyes grew wide, Really?′ Tell her about Aristaeus, Zach said. Oh, yes, Aristaeus. Every beekeeper should know that story . . . Aristaeus was the first keeper of bees. One day all his bees died, punishment by the gods for something bad that Aristaeus had done. The gods told him to sacrifice a bull to show he was sorry, and then return to the carcass in nine days and look inside it. Well, Aristaeus did just what they said, and when he came back, he saw a swarm of bees fly out of the dead bull. His own bees, reborn. He took them home to his hives, and after that people believed that bees had power over death. The kings in Greece made their tombs in the shape of beehives for that very reason. — Lily-August-Zach