Free Study Guide The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold|
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FREE NOTES FOR THE LOVELY BONES
At the church, Samuel is waiting for Lindsey with his older brother, Hal. They also see Detective Fenerman whose eyes linger on Susie’s mother. Susie is especially concerned about her father. He had awakened with a hang-over and watched her mother asleep on the pillow. He had wanted to smooth the hair back from her face and thought of her as his lovely wife, his lovely girl. Every day since Susie’s death, the day for him had been something to “get through.” This day, however, will be easier, because at least, it is honest. Unfortunately, when his wife had awkened, he could not really look at her the entire day, because she was no longer the woman he had known the day before Susie’s death.
At the memorial service, Ruth is appalled at Lindsey’s make-up and Clarissa’s dress. She doesn’t believe in make-up, because she feels it demeans women. Clarissa arrives with Brian Nelson and speaks with Susie’s family. When she asks how he and Mrs. Salmon are doing, Jack answers that they are doing fine. Susie thinks, “What an odd lie.” Her mother stares hard at Clarissa in anger, because Clarissa is alive and Susie is dead. Then, Clarissa realizes that Lindsey is wearing her dress, but doesn’t protest. She knows she could never ask for it back now.
Ray Singh stays away from the memorial, saying goodbye to Susie in his own way by looking at the picture she had given him that fall. He comes to the conclusion that the picture is not Susie. Instead, she is in the air around him, in the mornings he spends with Ruth or in the quiet times he spends alone between studying. He doesn’t want to throw away her picture, but he doesn’t want to look at it again either. He wants to set her free. He puts the picture in a book of Indian poetry which he and his mother used to press flowers.
In the back of the church at the end of the service stands Mr. Harvey
talking to Detective Fenerman. Grandma Lynn points him out to Lindsey
who stares hard, meets his eyes, and then passes out. Mr. Harvey slips
quietly away through the graveyard while everyone tends to Lindsey.
Grandma Lynn is exactly what the family needs to help them begin to live again. She pushes them to face reality, somehow finding a way through their grief. Susie’s memory of Mrs. Utemeyer is related, because her only sense of dead people, before she herself dies, is Mrs. Utemeyer’s body at the funeral home. She suddenly sees her as a real person who grieved for her daughter who died as a young girl.
The wedge that Susie’s death has placed in her parents’ relationship is all too apparent by the fact that Jack aches for Abigail when she’s asleep, but can’t even look at her when they are awake. The fact that he thinks of the memorial as an honest day indicates that the family is being dishonest with themselves, especially he and Abigail. This is further emphasized by Susie who comments that her father tells an “odd” lie when he tells Clarissa that he and Abigail are doing fine.
Abigail has finally entered the second stage of grief when she focuses on Clarissa for being alive while Susie is not. Fortunately, Clarissa doesn’t comment on the dress Lindsey is wearing which, no doubt, prevents Abigail’s anger from spilling out.
Ray is very touching when he puts Susie’s picture into the book of poetry. He wants to set her free and in so doing, free himself as well. However, time will prove that she’s not so easily forgotten.
Mr. Harvey’s appearance at the memorial is the most arrogance he shown since Mr. Salmon began to suspect him. When he locks eyes with Lindsey, she passes out, because subconsciously, she must know her father is right. This foreshadows her willingness later to help her father search Harvey’s house.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on The Lovely Bones".
. 09 May 2017