Free Study Guide The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold|
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THE LOVELY BONES ONLINE PLOT SUMMARY
When she arrives home, everyone there is in a panic. Samuel has come looking for her and the cuts and mud from where she fell frightens them all. Susie thinks, “How alive she was consumed me the whole day.” Lindsey then reveals to her father that she broke into Mr. Harvey’s house and she brings him the drawing. Her mother’s reaction is to leave to pick up Buckley, once again being unable to deal with her pain. The others look at the drawing and see there, instead of his other blueprints, the “blueprint of her grave.” When her father asks if Lindsey believes him now, she answers yes, but she also adds that she thinks Mr. Harvey saw her.
In heaven, Susie shivers with fear that her sister came so close to
danger that day and that she would not only have been lost to her family,
but, selfishly, to herself. Because, if Lindsey had died, she may not
have been a part of Susie’s heaven. So, Susie wants her to be on Earth.
Franny arrives at the gazebo and gives Susie a paper folded in four, telling
her that when she feels stronger, she should go there. It is a map which
leads her to a field in heaven she had walked by, but which remained unexplored.
She finds herself walking through rows of wheat until she meets a little
girl. The little girl says that she knows Franny and if Franny gave Susie
the map, then Susie must be ready. She is one of Mr. Harvey’s victims
and this makes Susie cry with the comfort it brings to speak to someone
else he killed. The little girl tells Susie the others will be there soon.
Suddenly, other girls and women come through the wheat from all directions;
they are his victims and they all tell each other their stories. Susie
notes that each time she tells her own experience, she loses the smallest
drop of pain.
It seems as if Mr. Harvey’s “lust” to kill may be building, because he is haunting places where children can be found. What seems to hold him back is the way the Salmon family watches him. Lindsey’s breaking into his house will further worry him. Like her father going after the penlight in the cornfield, Lindsey has a terrible need to go there and face the danger. She needs to find a way to free herself from Susie. It’s not that she doesn’t love her sister; it’s just that she needs to move on, before she becomes mired in the pain of her death.
Susie makes herself as visible as she can to lead Lindsey to find a clue connecting her to Mr. Harvey; this is a kind of selfishness she still feels even though she is supposed to have left such feelings behind when she died. Perhaps because of her need to have the truth exposed and her inability to give up earth, Susie suddenly “knows” the names of his victims and the details of their murders.
Later, when Lindsey brings home the sketch of the cornfield, we see how much farther Abigail has pulled herself away from her family: her daughter has narrowly missed being caught by a murderer in his own home, but she doesn’t even comfort her. She leaves to avoid the truth and the pain of reliving that moment. She wants to believe as Len does, that Mr. Harvey is innocent and her family is just looking for a way to vent their anger at Susie’s death. Jack never even sees her go; he is just relieved that, finally, someone believes him.
Susie herself is finally able to face what may help her move on and give up Earth. Franny allows her to meet all Mr. Harvey’s victims where she can finally relate her story and begin to lose “the drops of pain.”
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on The Lovely Bones".
. 09 May 2017