A cooperative society is where all people fulfill their roles and the community can run smoothly. A society can only be run if the people within the society are functioning properly. Knowledge and experience can be functional to people because they can use their experiences and learn what is better to do in certain situations. However, I believe innocence and ignorance to roles and situations are more functional for people. Innocence and ignorance helps run a cooperative society because we are blind to the unknown and continue to fulfill our roles.
We will not “be hopelessly neurotic” because we will not find out that we are “confined in darkness” and “her true role is less that of a queen than mother of the hive” when knowledge does not consume us and we are ignorant to situations (Kidd 232). Innocence and ignorance are more functional for people living in a cooperative society because it provides us with excuses for situations with an ugly truth. “What if my mother leaving wasn’t true? What if T. Ray had made it up to punish me? ” (Kidd 41). Lily is ignorant to the fact of her mother leaving her at a young age.
The innocence and ignorance of the truth provides her with reasons that the truth she does not want to know is not the truth. The avoidance of accepting the truth blinds Lily, allows her to carry on with her life, and shields the agony from overcoming her. Once Lily has learned the truth that T. Ray was not lying, pain and anger consumes Lily for days. Her innocence and ignorance to the situation protected Lily from the truth she did not want to learn about. Innocence and ignorance better help run a society because it helps people focus on their roles instead of gaining knowledge about some situation or person.
When T. Ray told Lily her mother left her, she did not believe him and ignored the idea of being abandoned. Her ignorance of the situation motivated her to run away from T. Ray and find information about her mother. Lily talks to Rosaleen and explains why she ought to go to Tiburon. “‘She must have been there sometime in her life… a person might remember her,’” (Kidd 51). Lily is oblivious to what T. Ray told her and focuses on running away from her life with T. Ray, where she had clothing, food, money, and shelter.
She heads to Tiburon to find out anything about her mother and possibly find someone who knew her mother to tell her that her mother did not leave Lily. She can not accept what T. Ray said, so her innocence pushes her to ignore what he said. She remains persistent on going to Tiburon to prove T. Ray wrong and also for herself because she feels that it is her duty to find the facts about her mother and use those facts as proof her mother was loving and did care for Lily. Ignorance helps people in a cooperative society remain happy when faced with a painful situation.
In my experience, ignoring the truth and being ignorant shielded my emotions from the pain that did not want to be felt. When I was in elementary school, I was bullied by a girl because I was new. I kept thinking to myself that she was having a bad day, not that she did not like me. I knew that she was being mean to me on purpose, but I told myself it is not me that is the problem. The repeated denial of the truth emotionally protected me. If I had acknowledged the situation, I would have been crying and self conscious about myself being disliked.
Since I was innocent and did not fully comprehend the situation, I was able to disregard her behavior and continue to be happy at school. This is similar to how Lily feels about her mother before she find out the truth about her mother. Her ignorance to what T. Ray said about her mother and the doubt Rosaleen has about the situation helps Lily keep a pleasing image of her mother in her mind. “‘My mother loved me! ’” (Kidd 39). Lily thinks that her mother was perfect and could not imagine her leaving with the thought of not taking her own daughter.
As Lily continues to believe T. Ray is lying because he has done it before, she starts to become more relieved. Although I believe that innocence and ignorance help a collegial society function, some people may believe that experience and knowledge are more functional for individuals. In an united society, knowledge can be used to learn more about one’s role in the community and in Lily’s case, to find out the truth about one’s past. In a cooperative society, experience and knowledge can help a person learn how to do their role correctly and can help influence decisions.
People can use their experiences and knowledge from these experiences to help them make right decisions, but it can also help them make out of character decisions that they may regret. Some may argue that innocence and ignorance causes people to ignore the truth and once the truth is revealed it causes more collateral damage than just being straightforward with the truth beforehand. However, knowledge and experience causes internal and external pains that ignorance and innocence could limit for as long as the person being ignorant and innocent wants to ignore the pains.
Knowledge of the truth causes internal pain, and ignorance of the truth does not allow the pain to be felt for as long as the person likes. After Lily has found out the truth about her mother leaving her, she becomes depressed. Lily herself wonders if the truth was worth finding out because “knowing can be a curse on a person’s life” (Kidd 255), and she feels that having knowledge of the truth ruined her life. It wrecked the image of her mother in her head. To Lily, it seems like her mother was cold hearted and she feels that the decision made by her mother was her fault.
Lily believes that her mother’s justification on leaving was that Lily is unlovable. “You are unlovable, Lily Owens. Unlovable. Who could love you? Who in this world could ever love you? ” (Kidd 242). If you were abandoned and thought you were unlovable, wouldn’t you feel too much pain to handle? This is how Lily feels; knowledge causes unbearable pain. Knowledge of the truth cause external pain as well, while ignorance can prevent this pain. When Lily finds out she was abandoned by her loving mother, her anger consumes her and she explodes by throwing jars of honey everywhere. My mother had left me… Around me, jagged pieces of jars and puddles of honey.
Blood dotted the floor,” (Kidd 259, 261). Lily’s emotions got the best of her and she did not care she made a mess and did not care that she hurt herself physically in the process of mourning. She got glass in her arm and was bleeding. As someone who has stepped on glass before, I know that glass in skin hurts. Knowledge caused Lily to feel external pain, and if Lily never gained this knowledge, then her anger would never be triggered.
She would not have thrown all the jars of honey to release her anger, and she would not have gotten cut by the glass. Therefore, knowledge not only emotionally hurt Lily, but it physically hurt Lily too. Adding on to Lily throwing the glass jars, experiences can lead to someone making rash choices. Lily becoming extremely angry is out of character, and her throwing those honey jars display her anger changing the way she usually behaves and causing her to make a foolhardy decision.
She was being reckless and does not consider the outcome of her actions. Because she experienced an emotionally traumatic event, she has no filter for her response and lets her emotions go. She says so herself, “I felt like I’d unzipped my skin and momentarily stepped out of it, leaving a crazy person in charge,” (Kidd 259). She knows that she was not acting like her usual self. She understands that the reason behind her actions are because of her resentment towards her mother and because she has gained knowledge about the unknown.
Once Lily has calmed down, she sees that the knowledge she has gained and experiences she has had triggered her emotions to make her seem like a crazy person. She knows that she was not herself when she started throwing the jars because she “unzipped [her] skin” implying that she was a different person for a moment. Knowledge distracts individuals from their roles in society, and the work not done has to be made up by other individuals. In The Secret Life of Bees, Lily becomes too upset with the truth that she does not do her role at the house and others have to do her work for her.