The novel entitled “ Bee Season,” which is written by a great American Novelist and Musician named Myla Goldberg tells about the profound story of young girl whose intent is driven by her admirations of conquering the national spelling bee contest and her journey of facing the aftermath of her achievement.
Basically, the story of this novel is bound within the limits and narrative of a family, which tackles the broad range and the various faces of domestic problems and difficulties among the family members.
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As for this novel, the conflict of interest within the family is considered to be one of the main aspects in the story, which dictates the progress of the novel's narrative. More so, the awareness of practicing personal autonomy, individual desire and differences in the family are of the most signifant features of the novel.
On the other hand, this novel also enlightens the narrative as to how and why the young ones are affected by the various difficulties and negatives aspects of life. Thus, through the representation of Eliza Naumann, one of the main characters in the novel, the author, Myla Goldberg, provides a clear picture as to how the younger members of the family would lose their innocence and pollute their young percpetions as they slowly began to witness and face the harsh realty of life.
Overall, this novel tells about the story of Saul Naumann who “spends the first portion of his life as Sal Newman, son of Henry and Lisa Newman, decorator of Christmas trees and Easter eggs” (Goldberg 2000, p. 110). Eliza Naumann, a seven-year-old girl the sole member of a gifted family who remains to be classified as a typical individual in a sense that she is less fortunate in terms of academic achievements. She is very much different from that of her brother and her parents.
“Since being designated three years ago as a student from whom great things should not be expected” Eliza Naumann, for a certain time, is considered as a mediocre not just in her family but also in the academe, as per the definition and point of view of her teachers and mentors (Goldberg 2000, p. 101). With this condition, as a student and the youngest in the family, Eliza has lived her life without the favorable guidance and support of her parents and of the other members of the family.
Thus, for almost the entire p of her existence, Eliza is not aware and is deprived of knowing the activities of her parents and brothers. Far from the awareness of Eliza, the majority of her family is a practicing a strict religious way of life. Her father, Saul, works as a cantor in the local House of Prayer in their community and her mother, Miriam, works as a local lawyer, while her brother is a prolific and gifted student who reads and recites Hebrew through the intensive guidance of their father.
Though it seems acceptable that Eliza Naumann accepts and understands her primary stand as mediocre and less important status in the family, she still has an exceptional gift that would alter the seat she occupies in the family. Fortunately, Eliza has discovered her exceptional gift in spelling as she won in the class and school spelling bee contest, which has served to be the start of something new in her life. This incident and the series of events in the life of Eliza have brought her to a new begginng, as she slowly attracted the attention of her parents.
“When Eliza studies, it is like discovering her own anatomy” and it is no doubt that she has this kind of skill and gift, as she is a product of a well-rounded and gifted family. Since then on, Eliza's life has never been the same anymore. From a mediocre situation with a less signifcance in the family, Eliza's success in the spelling bee has gathered the respect and support of her father, Saul, who decided to teach her and encouraged her to study the works of religoius writers.
In a sense, it can be said that through the success, which Eliza Naumann has gathered in winning all the preliminary spelling bee that she participated, she has lost her innocence as an ordinary young girl that belongs to a well-established and reputable family. As her success brought about an intensive attention to her family, Eliza's father has introduced her the religious way of life and belief that he has for most of his life.
Thus, these changes have altered the young perception and existence of Eliza, as she has become more oriented and aware of different philosophy and beliefs with the help of her father's encouragement. More so, through the confidence and recognition that she got from winning the spelling bee in her school and in their district division, Eliza is more capable of doing and learning other things that would further enhance her awareness and knowledge as an individual, which has paved the way for her to lose her innocence.
Lastly, witnessing and facing the harsh realirty of life and problems of their family, more especially with her mother ending up in the psychiatric hospital due to insanity, Eliza's innocence as a young girl has been jeopradized and sacrificed, which in the end, gave her the reason to let go of her innocence and do what she think is right and practices self autonomy.
In the end, though Saul “would like to think he has kept his distance in order to protect his daughter from his unfulfilled hopes” (Goldberg, 2000, p. 161). His desire in shaping his children according to his beliefs and philosophy has still affected the innocent mind and perception of Eliza Naumann, as seen in the latter pasrt of the novel when she conciously mispelled a words in their class spelling bee (Goldberg, 2000). Reference Goldberg, M. (2000). Bee Season. New York: Anchor Books.
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