The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Norristown, Pennsylvania and Susie’s Heaven
The setting often switches between Susie’s personal heaven and Norristown, Pennsylvania, and the story takes place between the years 1973 until 1981. For the majority of the story, Susie has already passed away and is in her personal heaven. Her personal heaven was perfect for her. Her surroundings looked like suburban high schools built in the 1960s because her immediate dream when she was on Earth was to be the queen at high school. She had Holly, Franny, and many dogs to keep her company in her personal heaven. When she let go of her family, she moved to the big heaven, or “comfort” as her granddad describes it, and lives there. On Earth, however, there are many significant places in the story. The cornfield, where Susie died; the Salmons’ home, where her family member’s relationships end and begin; Hal’s bike shop, where Susie makes love with Ray Singh; the sinkhole, where Susie’s bones were disposed of and Mr. Harvey’s home, where evidence of Mr. Harvey’s bizarreness is found.
The main character of The Lovely Bones is Susie Salmon. She was fourteen when her neighbour, Mr. Harvey, beat, raped, and killed her. She is part vengeful ghost, part wise sage, and part hyper-romantic teen who gives us a ghostly perspective of Earthly happenings and how the living and dead interact. Susie is a natural with a camera and wanted to be a photographer when she grew up. She carried her photographic eye with her to Heaven and continued to take many photographs up in her heaven. Susie is obsessed with designs and arrangements. She sees the world as pieces of structure in the process of being built. For example, she sees the relationships her family makes as bones that are connecting with one another to build a web of connections. I believe Susie’s three most prominent characteristics are her focus on her family, yearning to be alive again, and curiosity. Throughout the story, her focus on her family never wavered. She continuously tried to interact and warn them, guide and protect them, but at the end of the story she learns to let go of the hold she had on her family and move on. She also yearned to be alive again, wishing she could continue living her life. However, she got to use Ruth Connors body to live for a little while on Earth with Ray Singh, the man she was in love with. Lastly, her third trait, curiosity, was how Mr. Harvey lured her into the room in the Earth. She was curious about the structure Mr. Harvey had built, putting trust in him, and ultimately died because of that.
My Friend, Susie Salmon
I believe I would like Susie Salmon to be my friend because she is kind and smart, curious and has a photographic eye. I admire her focus on foiling Mr. Harvey too. In the beginning, she was depressed about her death, but soon after, she began to live and watch over everyone again. She focussed on other things, realizing that her death cannot be changed. I...