The novel takes place over a period of eight years after Susie Salmons death. However, it is filled with flashback scenes where Susie remembers something in her life and the lives of her family and friends and they are inserted into the story.
By the end, Susie’s parents have reconciled, Lindsay has married and had a child, and Mr. Harvey, the serial killer, has suffered a death perhaps accidental, certainly just. The strong interpersonal structures that develop after Susie’s death are the "lovely bones" of the title, the narrative rather than material remnants of Susie’s life.
1. Analyze the character of Susie Salmon by explaining how she must learn to let go of Earth before she can find her wide, wide Heaven. use examples from the story to explain this idea.
When Susie is on Earth, her dreams are fairly typical for a well-adjusted, talented girl. High school is the big deal in her immediate plans. In her Earthly life she sees the mediocrity of junior high fading into the past, as she becomes the queen of high school. This is why, in her first heaven, "all the buildings looked like suburban […] high schools build in the 1960s" (2.1).
She is a natural with the camera, and learns from photographing her mother, Abigail, that a photo can reveal a person's inner needs and desires. The photos of her mother that Susie leaves behind help her father, Jack, to understand Abigail. This understanding leads to a strengthening of their relationship. Susie carries this photographic eye with her into heaven, and she often tells her story pictorially, as stressed in one of the few titled chapters, "Snapshots."
Susie is obsessed with design and arrangement. She sees the elements of the world as bones, or pieces of structures in the process of being built. The photos she leaves behind, Len Fenerman's photos of the dead, and all the metaphorical photos she takes from heaven are potent, overlapping structures within the body of the novel. As she moves through time in the afterlife, her perceptions become keener. Thus offering us with the fascinating idea that our talents and interest continue to grow after we die.
The dead 14-year-old heroine of Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones is stranded in a much less supple, much more primitive and chronological parenthesis. This novel, Sebold's first, was clearly born from her own horrific rape experience as a teenager, detailed in her memoir Lucky (1999), whose first paragraph reads: "In the tunnel where I was raped... a girl had been murdered and dismembered. I was told this story by the police. In comparison, they said, I was lucky." The Lovely Bones, with its posthumous narrator telling the story of her brutal rape and murder and their aftermath, has been a massive seller in the US, garnering comparisons with Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.
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 lesson.
Perhaps the reason The Lovely Bones has been such a hit in the US is something to do with the aftermath of public mourning after last year's terrorism, the reassurance and satisfaction of being able to hear the voice of the gone and to piece together the future after cataclysm. I can't think why else, because though it's a great idea for a book, and though its opening chapters are shattering and dazzling in their mix of horror and normality, after the first 50 pages the energy dissipates and something much blander than the opening has promised starts happening both in the writing and in the narrative. Possibly this is an interesting, calculated blandness, Sebold being concerned with the creation of a safe and supportive place in the face of a horror she herself has been so close to. Regardless, it deadens the narrative.
The happy ending of The Lovely Bones includes a family that is closer to one another than ever before, but lets not forget the happy ending that Susie receives.
The Lovely Bones is a determined reiteration of innocence, a teeth-gritted celebration of something not dismembered or shattered at all, but continuous: the notion of the American family unit, dysfunctional, yes, but pure and good nonetheless. It's a celebration that is hard-won, often vivid, sometimes moving, comic and sweet, but that has to be treated with at least a little unease when you consider how the narrative presents us with its villain, the outsider, who is identified by Susie's family by instinct after they simply perceive the man to be a little odd, and after odd, malevolent. "Why, my father wondered, did people trust the police so much? Why not trust instinct? It was Mr Harvey and he knew it." We do too, because Susie told us so on page six - and this easy fait accompli of knowing who's bad and who's good is hardly comparable to Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, a book that redefined the word "liberal" and challenged all the small-town instincts about right and wrong.
Not much is possible from heaven, though Susie makes occasional contact with those she misses. Time inevitably passes ("however haphazardly, everyone I'd known was growing up"), bringing its own patterns of healing and meaning. The book's "bones", above all, cease to be those of Susie's never-found body, or the animal bones her creepy killer plays with to distract himself from other young girls; instead they become "lovely", being connections between loved ones "that happened after I was gone. And I began to see things in a way that let me hold the world without me in it."
It is like a flower or like a sun; it cannot be contained not even a mother who had every nerve attuned to anticipate disaster, could have saved her
if the waves leapt up, if life went on as usual and freak accidents peppered a calm shore he wore his own innocence like a comfortable old coat Themes Susie Represents These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence: the connections — sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at great cost, but often magnificent — that happened after I was gone.
Harvey are found, these words include "vengeance' (Sebold 58), "guilt" (Sebold 58), "poison" (Sebold 58), "dead" (Sebold 59) and "dark" (Sebold 63).
Also word like "lovely" (Sebold 60), "remarkable" (Sebold 63), "heaven" (Sebold 66), as well as, "love" (Sebold 70) and "beautiful" (Sebold 73) were found in this second section of the novel The Lovely Bones.