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Regarding Bees: Symbols in Modern Society: Conclusion

Array ( [0] => ENGL 6330 Spring 2018 [1] => no-show [2] => student exhibit )

"When the flower blooms, the bees come uninvited."

— Ramakrishna

In Utah, highway signs have the shape of a beehive

The honey bee is an extremely versatile character.

Mary Leapor used the bee to describe her discontent with her role in society. Bernard Mandeville used the bee to point out flaws in the economy. Philip Freneau used the bee to represent the potential dangers of independence. These poets and others in the eighteenth century used nature to represent their ideas on society, showing that a connection to nature was a commonality among people. The very gardens around homes showed the importance of the natural world. And even as people in modern times have striven to take dominance over nature, we still have not moved on from our connection to the natural world, and this is especially prevalent in the widespread use of the symbol of the bee. Sue Monk Kidd used the bee to show the unfairness and flaws of society, much as the eighteenth-century authors did. And the symbol doesn’t stop with literature.

From mascots to money and buildings to books, the image of the bee has permeated modern culture until it has become a part of everyday language. Honey bees, with their thriving government and large hive populations, are an ideal image to explore the many facets of the man-made construct of society. The differing opinions people have towards bees is indicative of the contrasting views people have of nature. Despite the vast technology and urbanization of western culture, people are still using nature in order to define place in and issues with society, showing that the connection writers in the eighteenth-century shared with nature is alive and well.

Image Citation

Emerson, Jimmy. Utah Highway Signs. 15 Jul. 2009. Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/auvet/3776342158