Free Study Guide The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold|
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THE LOVELY BONES FREE BOOKNOTES / ANALYSIS
Lindsey, Susie’s sister, handles her grief by hardening herself, not letting herself cry. She even returns to school where she is called into the principal’s office so he can express his sympathy. He is so inept in how he handles the situation that Susie, from Heaven, begs him to try to make Lindsey laugh. He also tries to soften her grief by telling her that Coach Dewitt wants her to try out for the boy’s soccer team. Lindsey bursts his bubble by asking him why she would want to play in a field that is only twenty feet from where her sister was murdered. She stays strong and refuses to break before him. Later, at home, she keeps the grief away by doing sit-ups and push-ups until she is exhausted. Mr. Harvey, meanwhile, builds dollhouses, which he makes for a living, and “he wears his innocence like a comfortable old coat.”
In heaven, Susie finds herself desiring simple things and she gets them:
dogs of all kinds. They run through the park in her heaven and she has
them to give her comfort. Her roommate, Holly, plays the tenor sax for
her comfort and the oldest resident of her Heaven, Mrs. Bethel Utemeyer,
plays the violin while the dogs howl. Then, they all sleep and this becomes
Susie’s Evensong, a song or prayer said every evening.
Heaven is obviously, in this novel, what each person dreams. A counselor, Franny, is even ready to offer help adjusting to death, but the dead one can still see her family and watch events on Earth as well. However, Susie cannot have what she wants most, so the author is implying that Susie’s adjustment to death will be a difficult one. It is also interesting to note that Susie capitalizes the word Earth whenever she talks about it while heavennis always lowercase. It is an indication of where he heart really lies.
The family’s mantra, “Nothing is ever certain,” is a reflection of the first step of the process of grief: shock and denial. The reality of Susie’s death hasn’t really hit home yet. The family is stunned and bewildered. It’s important to note that they react in different ways to her death. Then, when Detective Fenerman brings home the hat and tells them about the body part, they enter the second step which is anger. That’s when her mother wails and her father sobs into the dog’s fur and Lindsey toughens herself so she won’t break.
Her little brother, Buckley, who is only four and doesn’t really understand what gone means, draws a picture in which a thick blue line separates the air from the ground. This is what Susie will call the Inbetween, or perhaps, what we know as Purgatory. Susie watches the family walk past the picture and wants the picture to be a real place. She wants to be there, because she, too, needs an escape from the reality of her own death.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on The Lovely Bones".
. 09 May 2017