Free Study Guide The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold|
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BOOK SUMMARY FOR THE LOVELY BONES
That night Ruth creeps into Lindsey’s dorm. Lindsey allows her to crawl into bed with her and she listens to Ruth’s dream about Susie: Ruth sees herself in the ground and Susie walking over her; she calls out to her but, then, her mouth fills with dirt and Susie cannot hear. Lindsey says she doesn’t dream about Susie; she only dreams about rats nibbling the ends of her hair. Ruth asks if she misses Susie and Lindsey replies, “More than anyone will ever know.”
The symposium ends not with the perfect mousetrap, but with a project to design the perfect murder. All the kids there love it and fliers are posted everywhere. Lindsey doesn’t know this as she comes in for lunch. Artie, a boy who had liked Susie, becomes the one to tell Lindsey about the new competition. Samuel rushes in just as Artie tells her before she sees the flier. Samuel and Susie both “see the tremor. The inside shakeoff of her heart. She was getting so good the cracks and fissures were smaller and smaller. Soon, like a sleight-of-hand trick perfected, no one would see her do it. She could shut out the whole world, including herself.”
Ruth later talks over the incident with Artie. They discuss how they both found out what had happened to Susie, how Ruth sensed Susie’s death even before she actually knew. Artie only wonders who told Lindsey. They stand there at a loss for words while the rain begins to fall. Artie crawls under the picnic table while Ruth whispers to herself, “I think she listens.”
After that, everyone at the symposium knows who Lindsey is and how her
sister died. All of them can relate only in that they know someone who
had died. But no one knows anyone who has been murdered. Lindsey and Samuel
find a rowboat that is too old and worn to float and crawl under it together.
There, in his attempt to comfort her, Samuel becomes sexually aroused
and for the first time, they make love. Susie thinks, “In the walls of
my sex there was horror and blood, in the walls of hers there were windows.”
There is still a connection between Ruth and Susie. Even though they are on different planes of existence, they exist very much in the same way. Neither of them feels a part of her world. Both obsess over what the other can tell her. They both hope the other can hear. Franny’s advice to Susie about how to find the heaven where she really belongs indicates that Susie, like Ruth, has no idea how to move on. She clings to life and won’t face her death. She even tries at one point to step beyond the boundaries of heaven and ends up with a horrible headache, a sign that she no longer belongs on Earth. Susie hasn’t yet figured this out.
Lindsey still spends her time trying to stay in control. Besides Susie, the only one who is aware of Lindsey’s pain is Samuel. He knows when she nearly cracks over the new competition of the perfect murder and responds by offering the only thing he can give her and which she will accept only from him: his love.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on The Lovely Bones".
. 09 May 2017