Death is the unfortunate event in which the people on this Earth have to embrace as a part of life. Most can relate to death in some way whether it be by relating to someone who has died or being close to someone that has lived this eventual nightmare everyone can relate to death and grief in some type of way. According to the OED, grief is the “... act or fact of dying; the end of life; the final cessation of the vital functions of an individual.” Death and grief are forever in the lives of death’s victims, with no known cure, just nullified existence to help lessen the pain. As the grieving process becomes an essential element to families affected by death, a developing mentality can be forever shaped by the components of death, grief, and redemption.
Alice Sebold “boldly steps into the unimaginable territory [of]...death and murder…”(Woods) as she portrays the journey of Susie Salmon who was raped and murdered at the age of fourteen by the neighborhood question mark, George Harvey. The Sebold family slowly moves through the five categories of grief that include
1. denial- refusal to acknowledge existence of something :a refusal to believe in something or admit that something exists
2. anger- a strong feeling of grievance and displeasure
3. bargaining- an agreement between two parties that fixes the price of something
4. depression- a state of unhappiness and hopelessness
5. acceptance- willingness to believe that something is true
Sebold makes clear that these stages do not necessarily remain adamant, but that families coping with loss adhere to grief and loss in assorted ways. If readers confine their understanding of grief to coping and loss with death of a loved one, then the reader finds that they have trouble elucidating Susie’s true emotions. Because Susie narrates from her own personal heaven, Sebold allows her reader to directly connect with Susie and her view from heaven; she describes herself as caught in the “cornflower blue of Crayola (Sebold 34) of the Inbetween, longing to live among her family again, acting as a “cosmic witness” to the Salmon family’s distress and affliction, viscerally "yearning for the living" (Woods). However, as the members of the Salmon household weather the unfortunate events that force the characters to come to terms with death and grief, Sebold creates a motif of redemption; focusing on the maturation of the family and highlighting the underlying theme of redemption, Sebold forces dynamic characterizations that allow death to act as a dominant catalyst throughout the novel.
After Susie is pronounced dead, the Salmon family blunders into a “dysfunctional spiral” (Womack) as they attempt to cope with a crippling sense of grief. The novel details the post-traumatic experiences of Susie’s family, told entirely from her perspectives, focusing on the attempt of the Salmon family to make their ways among the living world. As Susie succumbs to her role as a witness to her family’s lives, she must...