Free Study Guide The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold|
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THE LOVELY BONES - FREE ONLINE STUDY GUIDE
This book fits within several genres. While in the basic genre of fiction.
It can also be described as a Supernatural Thriller. Additionally, the
novel can be considered a Bildungsroman (coming-of-age story). Susie manages
to mature despite her death cut so short. The changes in Susie during
the course of the story, both in her perspective and voice are subtle,
but it depicts the elements of a classic Bildungsroman, though not in
the traditional way.
The theme of grief is the most important theme in the book. The author
herself understands what this family experiences. In her book, Lucky,
she tells the story of her own rape and near murder. This kind of
experience can be so devastating that the victim must grieve what happened
to her and how she has changed. We see her own experience in Susie, who
not only must follow her family’s progress through grief, but also her
own progress. It is a kind of primer or textbook for us all. We, too,
could someday face what the author and her characters have endured. The
theme also allows the reader to understand these characters better, even
George Harvey, the monster.
The theme of love and acceptance weaves throughout the narrative. The
farther the Salmons move away from each, the more they begin to realize
they need to turn around and move back. This theme emphasizes just how
much we need each other when we are at the lowest emotional level to which
we can fall. When someone dies in our lives, we believe we will never
recover. However, the author uses her characters to teach us that with
acceptance comes recovery for us all.
The theme of good versus evil is one that has flowed throughout the
history of literature. In this case, it involves how the Salmon family
deals with the evil which has been perpetrated upon them and on Susie
and allows goodness to flow out of it rather than the bitterness which
could have stayed with them forever. What George Harvey did is the ultimate
evil, but Susie and her family teach the reader that they must not fall
into that blackness and never surface again. Susie represents the goodness
that comes out to surround her family and protect them. It is a time-honored
The theme of the feminist approach to rape and murder is a subtle thought placed into the mind of the reader, which emphasizes that we must not reduce rape and, sometimes, the murder that results, as an unimportant crime. Len Fenerman, for example, grieves for all the girls and women who have been raped and perhaps murdered and whose murderer has never been caught. But he gives up looking for them and the author’s message echoes the idea that these kinds of violations must never be forgotten.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on The Lovely Bones".
. 09 May 2017