The Lovely Bones And Speak Essay

1638 words - 7 pages

Throughout The Lovely Bones and Speak Alice Sebold and Jessica Sharzer respectively express the emotional journeys and boundaries faced by their characters. Both authors explore this idea through the restriction of their protagonist; however, they both express their journeys with the help of a secondary character. Different approaches are used by the authors, Sebold tells the story from the past whereas Sharzer provides a day-by-day diary of the emotional journey faced by Melinda. Both use the conclusion of their texts to heighten their characters emotional journeys. Sharzer’s ending provides a sense of relief and triumph, and Sebold creates a sense of happiness and acceptance. Aided by devices, notably symbolism, metaphors, narrative technique, stream of consciousness, editing techniques and imagery, Sebold and Sharzer endeavour to demonstrate the emotional journeys faced by their characters.

Both Sharzer and Sebold position their protagonists in situations where their ability to ‘speak’ is restricted; however, through the help of a secondary character, their journeys are expressed. Sharzer’s protagonist Melinda literally cannot speak as she becomes mute because she was raped; however, through her art teacher, Mr Freeman, Melinda is challenged to use her pain and fear to learn how to survive. The importance of Franny in The Lovely Bones is more apparent than Mr Freeman as her role is a ‘guide’ and ‘counsellor’ to Susie. Susie’s situation is quite different to that of Melinda’s. Susie’s inability to speak is because she is dead. This causes a great deal of emotional problems for Susie. Sebold uses Franny to provide support and advice to help Susie deal with her death and rape. The advice given by Franny to Susie is that ‘When the dead are done with the living, the living can go on to other things’; however, the dead ‘have to move on and deal with her death and not dwell on the ‘living’. Sebold utilises the relationship between Franny and Susie to show the emotional journey taken by Susie, dealing with her pain, loss and thirst for revenge. Sharzer uses Melinda’s art assignment and direction from Mr Freeman to allow Melinda to express her emotions and thoughts. Sharzer uses her art assignment on ‘Trees’ and the constant images of trees as a symbol of death since Melinda is dying inside by hiding the details of her rape; whenever Melinda tries to create her tree in art class, she suppresses her emotions. Shazer’s use of trees, which are decaying and dying on one side, to represent that without support and help the tree will eventually die. Melinda's life after the rape is similar to the sick tree as the effects caused by her rape threaten to cross over to the other aspects of her life and ruin her entirely. Similarly, Susie’s ability to move on is threatened by her clinging on her family. However, Sebold uses Franny to give Susie an important symbol. This ‘map’ ‘led’ Susie ‘into the field’ to ‘an old olive tree’ where ‘other girls and women’...

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