The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

62537182_4008ef35dc.jpgWhat are the important aspects of a study guide?



Summary of the plot

Key turning points

Author information

Quotes, page references



Historical context

Chapter summaries



Practice Essay Questions

Photo of honey was taken by Alexa Clark on

What do you think students would need to know to get a thorough knowledge of the novel?

What is it like in South Carolina anyway? Our correspondent on the spot Pat Hensley may be able to fill us in. She has also read the novel and is looking forward to seeing the film

Hi! Thank you for letting me share some info about South Carolina!

Geography: Our state is like the shape of a triangle. I live in the upper left corner in a small city called Fountain Inn in Greenville County. My

region of the state is referred to as the upstate, at the foot of the mountains. The lower right corner, near the beach is considered the low country. Columbia is right in the middle of the state. Columbia, and Florence are real cities. Bull Street with the mental hospital was a real place but has been closed down.

Climate:It is summer right now and our students do not go back to school until August 18. The temperatures lately have been extremely hot usually in the 90s or over 100F. Plus the humidity is extremely high so whenever you go outside of the air conditioning, you feel like you are melting. Our winter is usually mild and we might get snow one or two days but the best thing about the snow is that it covers the ground making it look beautiful, but then it is all gone the next day. Just about everything closes if it snows because we are not prepared to clear roads and it is cheaper just to close down everything.

Religion: Religion is so important in our state that we are referred to by other states as being part of the “Bible belt.” Most of the people are Baptist and very conservative here. We still have “blue laws” in many cities that make it illegal on Sundays for stores to be open before 1pm and no alcoholic beverages may be sold. Many people here go to church on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, and Wednesday evenings.
Politics: The majority of the people in South Carolina are Republican and conservative.

History: Fort Sumter is a big tourist attraction off the coast of Charleston. It is where the United States Civil War began.

Life in SC:
  • There are still beekeepers around in the upstate and local honey can be found in stands along the side of the road.
  • There are lots of peach stands along the highways in the summers. People can buy them already picked or you can go to the orchard and pick your own.
  • People love to ask you where you are from and who your people are. It seems like everyone here is related to someone else.
  • Manners and etiquette are still very important to people here. We are very friendly and will always greet a stranger with a hello. Grocery shopping can take longer than you expect because everyone has a conversation with the cashier. Children are expected to answer questions with “Yes ma’am/sir or No ma’am/sir.”
  • We mostly use our horns in the cars to get someone’s attention so we can wave hello.
  • Many people still classify groups of people by their color and usually refer to races as black, white, or other.
  • Even though there isn’t segregation anymore, we still have black churches and white churches, and black funeral homes and white funeral homes. It is not that they can’t mix, it is that the people choose not to.
  • My husband went to the high school that was desegregated in the 70s and he talks about how scary that first day was. There were protesters all around when he first showed up at school that day. Now all of our schools are desegregated.
  • There are more and more interracial marriages now than 30 years ago. I am a Chinese American (born and raised in New York) and when my husband and I were married 26 years ago, we almost had trouble getting my minister to marry us because my husband is a white man and we were considered an interracial marriage. We got married on my college campus by the lake instead of a church but my minister did the ceremony.
  • I grew up and went to high school in New York but I came to college in South Carolina. The way of life is much slower than in the big cities. People are friendlier here and usually if you need help, you will always find someone willing to help you. People are more polite here than in other places that I’ve been.

I hope this gives you an idea about my state and that I haven’t bored you to tears. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

This movie trailer was made by students Heather and Kari in New York and more movie trailers for the novel The Secret Life of Bees can be found.