Free Study Guide The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold|
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THE LOVELY BONES CHAPTER SUMMARY
Lindsey decides to get her father and Buckley and go to the “party for Susie.” Buckley tells Lindsey that he sees Susie, who comes to talk with him while Lindsey is at soccer practice. Lindsey is so moved that she hugs her little brother and promises him she will always be there for him. As they are getting ready, Abigail silently moves into the dining room with her books, so Jack won’t see her.
Susie realizes that the circle of candles is her friends saying goodbye.
She will soon be just a “little girl lost . . . and a letter from the
past never reopened or reread.” She, too, can say goodbye to them and
just wish them well and bless them for their good thoughts. Samuel and
Ray walk towards Jack, Lindsey, and Buckley and help them merge into the
group. As Jack looks around each of the faces there, he realizes there
are people who loved Susie whom he doesn’t even know. This gives him a
warm feeling that he hasn’t felt in a very long time. Jack urges Mr. O’Dwyer
to sing, because Susie loved listening to him sing Irish ballads during
the summer. He sings clear and fine and everyone joins in. It reminds
Susie of how she would hear him on those hot summer evenings just at sundown
with the feeling of a thunderstorm coming to cool her off. Her mother
would see her standing at the window in her thin nightgown, and she would
say that Susie looked invincible. Susie felt at those times that she and
her mother felt the same thing: she was invincible.
The picture we see of Ruana Singh as she exercises to forget that her husband is absent and her son is growing up and away from her remind us of Abigail. Susie’s mother wants more than anything to escape her world as does Ruana. The difference between them is that Ruana would never walk away from her child, no matter how unhappy she was, while Abigail will eventually leave and not look back for a long time.
The relationship between Ray and Ruth is odd, but seems to be solidifying. The obsession each feels for Susie makes it difficult to be more than friends, but Ruth tries by pretending to be Susie. It’s as if she wants to be Susie even without her desire to comfort Ray.
Abigail’s refusal to go to the candle-lighting separates her even more from her family. They are pulling away from her as well, shown when no one asks if she wants to go. Even Lindsey seems to have pushed her mother into the background on this night, because she knows in her heart that her mother is going to leave.
Both Susie and her father find comfort in this little memorial, he because he feels warmed by all the people who loved Susie and she, because she can begin to say goodbye. This is the first step in Susie’s letting go of Earth. It seems ironic that her mother thought Susie was invincible since she was murdered, but the truth is that Susie, no matter whether in heaven or on earth, has the ability to endure.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on The Lovely Bones".
. 09 May 2017