Free Study Guide The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold|
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FREE STUDY GUIDE - THE LOVELY BONES
He is the monster who rapes and kills Susie. He has been killing girls
and women for a long time and has never been caught for his deeds. The
author presents him in a somewhat sympathetic light, however, by showing
the horrible childhood he experienced and how he draws buildings and builds
dollhouses to keep himself from killing. Even though it doesn’t work,
the fact that he makes the attempt gives him some sympathy. In the end,
though, he is a pathetic horror of a human being, who seeks out the grave
of one of his victims and when he discovers it’s empty, he sleeps in it.
He dies through the will of Susie who needs him to be dead so she protect
any other girls or women he might kill and so she can break the bonds
He is the detective who investigates Susie’s case. He has been doing
this work for a long time and it’s obvious he is on the verge of burn-out.
He lives in a lonely apartment above a barber shop and spends his time
trying to solve cases of girls and women who have been murdered. He carries
their pictures in his wallet and writes the date the case is solved on
the back. Many of them remain blank. He is over-whelmed by his inability
to solve all these cases as well as Susie’s, and turns to Susie’s mother
for escape. We realize that what he’s done - the affair with Abigail -
is reprehensible, but the loneliness he endures both before and after
is heart-wrenching. In the end, he is left with nothing: George Harvey
has not been caught; Abigail has returned to her husband; he has not found
Susie’s body; he has many cases unsolved; and what’s even more devastating,
his wife committed suicide and he has no idea why. He’s a lost soul, too,
in some ways just like George Harvey.
This character is a life-saver, particularly Lindsey’s life. He is a
heroic figure who stands ever supportive and ever loving to help Lindsey,
and even the rest of her family, deal with the tragedy of Susie’s death
and the temporary collapse of the family. He first talks to Lindsey at
school after Susie is murdered and then he brings her a Christmas gift
that first holiday, just three weeks after Susie died. The gift is a pendant
with a heart broken in two, as is Lindsey’s, but he wears the other half
to show her he “has her back.” He stays beside her for the next seven
years and finally proposes to her. He has been committed to Lindsey for
all that time and he will stay with her forever.
As the little four year old brother of a murdered sister, he might have
been depicted as just a kid who doesn’t understand what has happened.
However, the author shows him as being a very wise child who not only
depends on his father and Lindsey, but watches over them as well. He sees
and talks to Susie and he holds her in his heart just like everyone else.
He builds a fort for her; he saves the little, old shoe from the Monopoly
game, because it was her favorite; and he plants a garden just for her.
He hates his mother for a long time, because she leaves him. But in the
end, he too is ready to accept what has happened in the past and let it
She is like an alter-ego for Abigail Salmon. They both feel trapped in a situation they never wanted and look to escape somehow. However, Ruana ultimately doesn’t have the courage to leave, because of the bond she has with her son, Ray. She stays and tries to forget that soon her son will grow up and move away while her husband never comes home, because he is married to his ambition. Eventually, however, the word divorce will begin to ring in her mind and like Abigail, she will find her way.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on The Lovely Bones".
. 09 May 2017