Lovely Bones Essay
In Alice Sebold’s “The Lovely Bones”, the theme revolves around the experience of grief, loss, and acceptance. Throughout the book, all the characters experience these emotions through different ways. The way that the characters go through their emotions is how Sebold tries to communicate her message to us: everyone experiences grief differently, some better than others. Although they all seem to be doing horribly, some of the characters seem to deal with their emotions better and worse than others. Susie, a 14-year-old victim of rape and murder, struggles to accept the fact that she’s dead. She can’t seem to let go of her family and friends.
Susie tends to linger with them through the afterlife, and watches over them as they deal with her death. Seeing everyone grieve is what makes it harder for her to let go, and move on into heaven to meet with Mr. Harvey’s other victims. Meanwhile, she can only watch her family and friends struggle as she does too. Although Susie seems to suffer the most, she gets to enjoy the spoils of heaven, making her grieving process far better than for those who love her. Susie’s family goes through very difficult times after her death.
Her mother and father drift apart and seem to lose communication in response to the unfortunate event. Jack, her father, becomes obsessed with finding her murderer. Eventually, Lindsey breaks into Mr. Harvey’s home to find some sort of evidence that he is Susie’s murderer which feeds into Jack’s obsession. Eventually, Jack’s suspicions make him look insane to others, but little do they know, the mystery of Susie’s death makes him feel as if he failed as a father. Jack realizes that he wasn’t there to protect her daughter when attacked, or to hold her during her last moments on earth. This makes Jack’s emotional experience worse but his obsession helps keep him occupied since he knows seeking justice for Susie would be the key to his relief. Meanwhile, Abigail, can’t seem to accept the idea of her daughter being dead. Her husband’s obsessive behavior and lack of attention drives her to an affair with Len, the police officer.
After struggling to keep herself together, she flees to California to work at a winery, leaving her daughter, son, and husband behind when they need her most. Ever since Susie’s death, Abigail feels as if there is no hope and as if she isn’t good enough for her family. Since most of the characters seem to neglect her, she feels abandoned and seeks attention, leading to her affair with Len. Therefore, Abigail seems to have the worst experience with grieve out of all the characters. On top of her daughter’s death, she now feels guilty because she didn’t handle the situation in a good way and instead, lost connection with those that she loved. Although her mother abandons her, Lindsey seems to be less emotional about this experience compared to her mother and father.
She shows no empathy for her mother leaving. Lindsey is more ashamed than anything, and would do anything to not be known as “the sister of the girl who was murdered”. Lindsey puts up a front, and acts as if nothing bothers her; as if everything is normal so no one could see her as a vulnerable little girl. She seems to deal with this unfortunate loss better than any other character. Although she still feels some sort of grievance, she doesn’t let her sister’s death haunt her like Jack and Abigail. She seeks to move on and be happy and accept what has happened instead of holding onto that sorrow forever.
Throughout the novel, grievance seems to be the recurring theme. Although all of them do experience loss, some seem to accept it earlier than others, and choose to move on to a better life rather than reminiscing Susie. Others choose to hold onto her and let her death eat away at them, leaving them sad and depressed more than others. The characters in the book all go through the grieving process differently, showing us that there are many ways to deal with it, some ways better than others.
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