Study Guide

Little Bee (The Other Hand) Guilt and Blame

By Chris Cleave

Guilt and Blame

Certain attitudes which have been adopted by this society have left this commentator a little lost. (2.18)

These are the last words Andrew writes in his column for <em>The Times.</em> They suggest that Andrew blames society, which includes himself, for callousness toward people like Little Bee.

The hairs on my arm went up, Batman, but I had a household to run. I never understood that he was actually going to do it.</em> (2.21)

Sarah is trying to figure out how to explain to her son that she didn't recognize that Andrew was suicidal. She's also commenting on the signals her body was sending her that something was very wrong with Andrew – the hairs going up on her arm.

I decided I wouldn't tell [Charlie] that my husband opened his mouth to say something, but that I was running late and turned away. (2.60)

Sarah doesn't know whether it would have made a difference if she hadn't turned away from Andrew, but she does feel very guilty for not listening to what he has to say. If she did tell Charlie this part, would he blame her?

"The guard died because of you," [Andrew] said. (4.259)

When Sarah refuses to let Little Bee and her sister be taken by the killers on the beach in Nigeria, one of the killers shoots the hotel guard who's trying to get Sarah and Andrew back into the compound. Ironically, Andrew blames Sarah for the death. Of course, he's probably reacting out of shock, rather than a clear assessment of the very bizarre situation he's suddenly found himself in.

My body betraying me, blushing from my ankles to the crown of my head. (6.158)

When Andrew meets Sarah with Lawrence at a party, she reveals the affair through her body's reactions. There's something a little "The Tell-Tale Heart" (thank our friend Mr. Poe for that one) about this moment.

"I'm not ashamed of my adultery, Sarah. I'm ashamed of my f***ing cover story." (6.231)

Lawrence considers himself a "loser," but he definitely doesn't waste his time feeling guilty about spending time at Sarah's instead of working or being with his wife and kids.

"I would. Please do not imagine I would forgive you, Lawrence. I would make sure I hurt you." (7.124)

Vengeance isn't absent from Little Bee's vocabulary. She makes it clear to Lawrence that if he messes with her, she'll do what she can to make him pay. We believe her, too. The question is, did Lawrence set up Little Bee to get arrested on purpose? Or, does Little Bee think he did? If so, maybe him finding out what plane she was on (so Sarah and Charlie could go with her to Nigeria) makes up for it.

"What you did is a crime," he said. "Now I don't have a choice. I have to go to the police." (7.181)

It's hard to say whether Lawrence really believes Little Bee's interactions with Andrew when he commits suicide are criminal, or whether he just wants to find a way to get rid of her.

"I was at mine nursery," he said. "That's when the baddies got mine Daddy." (9.102)

Charlie feels totally responsible for his father's death. He feels that as Batman, he should have been able to save Andrew. At this point, he sort of knows that Andrew is dead, but is holding out hope that he's just been kidnapped by baddies. If Charlie stays Batman, maybe he'll be able to save Andrew yet. Poor kid.