Study Guide

Little Bee (The Other Hand) Love

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Hmm hmm hmm… "One love/ One life/ When it's one need/ In the night…" Yeah, the talk of love found in U2's "One" can definitely be this theme's song.

Little Bee, who has heard U2 in Nigeria and in the English immigration detention center where she's held, tells Sarah, "That is a good trick about this world, Sarah. No one likes each other, but everyone likes U2" (5.30). U2's music is all about love, peace, and world harmony and, hey, we love it, too. But the theme of "Love" in Little Bee is very much about how little love there often is for asylum seekers and other immigrants in the nations they flee to. It's also about the special kind of love that forms between Sarah, Charlie, and Little Bee. It's about the pain of losing loved ones. And it doesn't end there – to keep things spicy, Little Bee also has an extramarital affair. To keep it tender, we see love through young Charlie's innocent eyes. As in "One," love in Little Bee is complicated, dangerous, and, sometimes, just downright sweet and caring.

Questions About Love

  1. What do you make of Lawrence and Sarah's relationship? Is there love there? Are they using each other? Will their relationship continue in the future?
  2. How do Sarah's feelings for Andrew change over the course of the novel, as she mourns him?
  3. Why are Little Bee and Charlie able to relate to each other so well, even though they're far apart in age and have been raised in such different cultures?
  4. Do you think Sarah commits an act of love when she chops off her finger?
  5. Why is it so hard for most people to see Little Bee as loveable? Do you find her loveable?

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