Free Study Guide The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold|
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THE LOVELY BONES BOOKNOTES
Len Fenerman decides that it is time to place boundaries between the police and Susie’s father. He comes to this decision when Jack calls the station to say that Holiday, the dog, had stopped one morning in front of Mr. Harvey’s house and began to howl. Nothing Mr. Salmon did could budge the dog or stop the howling. So, Len goes to the Salmon house to speak to Jack. He talks briefly with Lindsey who has just returned from the Symposium for the Gifted. He comments that her parents probably missed her, but Lindsey says that they were probably glad she had been gone. Len knows this is true, because Abigail had been less frantic the last time he had visited the house. He speaks to Jack alone and tells him he must stop obsessing over Mr. Harvey. There is nothing to connect him to Susie’s death. He implies that he is giving up the investigation. Lindsey overhears the conversation and then, protects her father by implying to Len that he should leave. However, her mother comes downstairs and offers Len coffee. She is ready to entertain a guest who has just crushed Jack with his decision. Lindsey tries to convince her father to leave the room, but her father is “slowly fitting something together. It has nothing to do with George Harvey, nothing to do with me. It is in my mother’s eyes.” Jack is beginning to suspect the attraction his wife has for Len Fenerman and realizes she thinks Len is right to close down the investigation. Later, in the study, Jack feels more alone than he ever has. He writes in his journal, “I feel like I’m standing in the wake of a volcano.” He is still in two stages of grief: anger and depression.
Everything is falling apart for Jack Salmon. The police won’t take his
calls, they don’t believe Harvey is the murderer, and his wife agrees
with them, not him. He is also having trouble doing his job and fears
he’ll soon be unable to support his two remaining children. His only comfort
is in his low green easy chair. “The room is like a vault,” says Susie,
“the chair like a womb, and me standing guard over him.” He decides to
take a late night walk when he sees what looks like a penlight in the
cornfield. He first turns out the porch light which the family could not
bring themselves to turn off even though they knew Susie was dead; then,
he grabs a baseball bat with the words find a quiet way in his
head. He heads for the cornfield where he last sees the light and finds
Clarissa, Susie’s best friend. She has been waiting for Brian Nelson.
He doesn’t recognize her, thinks she’s Harvey, knocks her over, and calls
out Susie’s name. This attracts Brian, who has been planning to meet Clarissa
there, and he begins to attack Jack with a survival kit flashlight. Susie
tries everything she knows to help from heaven, but she is only able to
watch. She is trapped in her “perfect” world and can only taste his blood.
She wants his tight love for her, but she also just wants him to go away
and leave her be. She is granted one ability to alter earth: she blows
out the candle that had been burning in her father’s study.
We see Jack Salmon’s continuing determination to find a way to prove Mr. Harvey is the killer. He becomes so annoying to the police that Len Fenerman finally has to tell him the case is being closed. He writes down all his anger and frustration in his journal, allowing Susie to see his fears as well. He is so beside himself with grief and loneliness that he follows a flashlight he sees in the cornfield. This behavior triggers an attack against him which will only add to his devastation. Susie, in the meantime, faces her own frustration as she watches Earth from heaven. She can’t help her father and she watches Mr. Harvey try to control his own obsessions in the cold, dark house laid out just like her own. He counts bones and belongings of the dead to stop his lust.
It is interesting to note that Holiday, Susie’s dog, instinctively knows that Mr. Harvey’s house is bad when he howls uncontrollably outside it. He has a deeper instinct and is in contrast with the police who are impotent.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on The Lovely Bones".
. 09 May 2017