Book Club and Literature Analysis
Literature is a strong weapon that can change a lot in one’s thoughts and even beliefs. Throughout years, literature has played a great role in shaping the ideology and culture of different nations. In spite of the existence of television, literature still has more benefits. It describes the human being and reality. Moreover, it adds to reality something that is not visible for the eye, and one can even say that it adds value to reality. Authors’ writings are depictions of the social norms and thinking patterns of society. In other words, they reflect different sides of the character and human being. Many people understand life, only after they read some great literary works. The latter may or may not be based on philosophy, but a good and mature piece of writing can change a lot. Such literary works provide an opportunity to take a look at some serious and important aspects of life. Undoubtedly, literature can change a person’s views on life. Besides, literature provides society with a detailed review of human experiences and the consequences of their actions.
When a person is reading an interesting and mature book, he or she becomes utterly absorbed into another reality. A reader becomes engrossed in the events, which he/she will probably never experience in his/herlife, not because they are too unreal and fantastic, but because such events do not happen to everyone. While reading, many people imagine themselves to be a literary hero of a book. This way, they experience the emotions the author describes in his/her book. They feel everything or almost everything that the main character is supposed to feel, surely, if they can read between lines. Obviously, literature can refresh one’s mind and give a person an opportunity to look back at his/her experience. Sometimes, books make people realize and admit the mistakes, which they have made during their lives. Moreover, a specific problem described in a book can show how to improve the situation a person is facing and how to avoid some mistakes in the future.
The novel Little Bee by Chris Cleave is one of the emotional literary works which, undoubtedly, can have a great impact on readers. In his piece of writing, the author examines people from different points of view. His characters differ from each other in some cases. Some of them are strong and eager to renew and improve their lives (they are Little Bee, Sarah, and the sari girl). The others are too weak to face the reality (like Andrew). Unfortunately, the book also includes some indifferent cowards; this type of character is reflected in Lawrence. The plot which Chris Cleave chose for telling is very serious, and it is a good choice for a number of reasons. First, it shows the maturity of the author. Secondly, this story adds to people’s understanding of human experience, which allows them to see all the depths of human being. This storytelling choice is very important because there have always been problems in treating immigrants or people of different race. The novel “Little Bee” shows that all people and races are equal. No race is totally good or bad, there are good and bad people everywhere. In other words, the character of a person does not depend on his or her race etc. Finally, this hearty story enables everyone to examine different types of people and decide what kind of personality one wants to be.
The book was titled after the main character, who calls herself Little Bee, although her real name is Udo, which means “peace.” This girl, her horrible experience and her strength, which helped her to overcome everything she had faced, can teach readers a lot. Little Bee’s desire and intention to protect and help little Charlie show that she is strong enough to put aside her personal problems and trauma and help someone, who needs it. It should also be mentioned that the book has one more title, which has a great sense – “The Other Hand”. It is clear that this title concerns Sarah’s hand and her missing finger. Moreover, the title “The Other Hand” is related to Little Bee’s hand. Little Bee’s words confirm this fact: “I arranged my fingers underneath hers so that the only one of my fingers you could see was the one that was missing from Sarah's hand. I saw how we could make a life again. I know it was crazy to think it, but my heart was pounding, pounding, pounding” (Cleave, 2008.) This touching moment reflects all the beauty of a person, who wants to give another one something he or she is lacking, share with that person, and be a part of him or her.
Udo represents many sides of the non-perfect and cruel world. With the help of this character, a reader will not forget that troubles happen to everyone. Thus, everything a person can do is not lose hope and to keep on fighting with the iniquities of the world. Besides, one should not forget that he/she is not the one to be chosen by all problems of the world. Everyone suffers from something at least once. Someone suffers less, and someone suffers more, but nobody’s life is perfect. To support this idea, Little Bee is talking to Sarah: “You have seen trouble too, Sarah. You are making a mistake if you think it's unusual. I am telling you, trouble is like the ocean. It covers two thirds of the world” (Cleave, 2008.) Therefore, one can say that the little Nigerian girl is like a vivid reminder for the people that the natural human being has advantages and disadvantages.
This book teaches the reader to be positive and think positively. Again, positive thinking is represented by Little Bee, especially when she takes a look at the empty bag of the sari girl. “I could see her [yellow] sari through it [the bag] so I decided she was holding a bag full of lemon yellow. That is everything she owned when they let us girls out” (Cleave, 2008) – this is what Udo thinks, when she notices this girl’s bag. This moment, which is full of hope, means that the Nigerian girl no longer thinks of committing suicide. Now she knows that she is strong enough to cope with the difficulties and overcome problems. In other words, she is strong to survive. Indeed, this situation demonstrates her strength, will, and desire to live. Moreover, taking a look at the sari girl’s attitude to her plastic bag, one can understand that it is rather hopeful, too. Despite the fact that the bag is empty, she carries it because she thinks that she has something. In contrast to the female characters of the novel, Andrew turns out to be not so strong and hopeful. His suicidal death shows that it is no good giving up and feeling guilty. Instead, he could continue writing his book, and it could become a great contribution in fighting with a cruel attitude towards immigrants.
One of the main ideas of the novel is that it is necessary to transform the society, its thinking and actions in relation to immigrants. The story of the little Nigerian girl shows the problems of the society, of which most people are unaware or do not care. The author appeals to readers; he wants them to understand that serious changes are needed in treating immigrants. Moreover, it is important to provide the changes not only at the institutional, but also at the individual level. One can see how people grudge their love for those who need it, and search for asylum and a supportive shoulder. Such people in need do not ask for anything; all they need is comprehension and respect. Little Bee, who loves peaceful, lovely, and kind songs by U2 tells Sarah: “That is a good trick about this world, Sarah. No one likes each other, but everyone likes U2” (Cleave, 2008.) These words explain that people differ from each other in many ways, but they still have a lot in common. This is a good reason to be at least tolerant to each other. Little Bee, Sarah and Charlie tell readers how a real life should be. These three characters always help each other in dangerous situations and rescue each other’s lives. In addition, they help each other to find themselves and move on through challenging circumstances. This is one of the author’s messages to readers and a recommendation on how people should treat each other.
I am deeply impressed by this novel. I should admit that I did not expect that this book would have such a great impact on me. To tell the truth, it turned my worldview upside down. I have never thought that the world and people can be so cruel and heartless. I could never imagine that a person can hurt someone, especially a child, in such a violent way. I am amused how this little Nigerian girl overcomes all the troubles on her way and helps others to believe in themselves and their light future. She is strong, hopeful and kind; she is a good example of a real fighter. When I finished reading this book, and started analyzing it in my head, I promised myself to never be suppressed by some misfortunes. Now I know that everything that people should do when they face some problems or difficult situations is calming down and fighting. The most wrong decision is losing hope, and Andrew’s situation shows the crucial and even fatal consequences of it to readers. In my opinion, this deep novel is worth reading by everyone. Obviously, every person makes mistakes during the life, and this novel is the source that can teach readers how to avoid those mistakes and improve situations they face sometimes.
In conclusion, I should admit that this book has taught me the rules of survival and positive thinking. “Little Bee” is a source of deep thoughts and advice on how to deal with challenges. Of course, I cannot understand why, sometimes, the world is so unjust and why people are so cruel towards little innocent and defenseless creatures. However, now I know that every person can deal with most problems, no matter how difficult they are. The important condition to stay alive is to believe in one’s strength and not to lose heart. Little Bee is a good example of skipping from sorrow and despair to comfort and beauty. In my opinion, everyone should at least try to find the way from the dark-colored being to the light, vivid and hopeful future. Life is not an easy game, and if a person is not strong enough, especially mentally, it can appear too difficult for him or her to survive. Thus, everyone who was given birth must fight till the end because no one has rights to take away his or her life.
Cleave, C. (2008). Little Bee. New York: Simon & Schuster.