The Lovely Bones
By: Alice Sebold

Essay #1

In the book The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, Susie Salmon is only thirteen years old when she dies. She was on her way home through the cornfield, when a disturbed neighbor talks her into an underground hole and kills her. The hole in which Susie was killed in is never found throughout the book. From the perspective of "How to Read Literature Like a Professor", the geographic location of these two places further show the themes of isolation and mysteriousness that are present in the book.
"It was dark out because the days were shorter in winter, and I remember how the broken cornstalks made my walk more difficult" (Sebold, 6). The cornfield in which the hole was dug symbolizes the mystery and darkness of Susie's death and the events that are about to come from it. The hole is also below the surface, thus it also symbolizes the many hidden aspects of the murder and Susie's family as they try hard to move on. The underground hole can also symbolize the darkness and strange ways of Susie’s murderer, George Harvey. Although George Harvey had killed many innocent young girls, he is never caught by the police. From the viewpoint of other people in the neighborhood, George Harvey is seen as a peculiar and odd individual because he deviates from the standard norms. He is quiet, mysterious, and also quite disturbing.
Susie's house is located very near the cornfield, therefore, it foreshadows the negative incidents her family will go through.
After Susie's death, her family becomes taken over with grief and they find it hard to move on. Many conflicts also arise from the event of Susie's death because her family starts to fall apart. To make matters worse, the police are never able to find George Harvey and do not believe Jack (Susie's father) when he finds something suspicious about the neighbor. As the family is unable to move on, Susie's mysterious death in the cornfield emphasizes the confusion and isolation they feel. All these factors, also influence the dark and gloomy mood that is present from the beginning of the book.

Essay #2

After Susie Salmon's death in the book The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, her family gets torn apart. As Susie’s narrates from heaven, she talks about the time she took a picture of her mom before everyone in the house was awake. Although many things in the story may seem less important and simple, they serve as symbols to further describe a person or event. These symbols are also what help to shape and move the story along. For example, in this snapshot Susie had taken of her mother, she noticed that her mother seemed to be a different person from who she usually was. "That morning there were no lipstick marks...she had a stare that stretched to infinity. She was in that moment, not my mother but something separate from me" (Sebold, 48). This photo serves as a symbol to show a contrasting side to Abigail's character; and it is only after Susie’s death that it becomes apparent. The picture symbolizes the mysterious and daring person Abigail had been before she had children and a family to take care of. Soon, Abigail also has an affair with Len Fenerman (the police officer) and no longer opens up or talks to her family. In the picture, Susie's mother seems to look lost and alone. This could also represent the societal pressures toward women to have everything together and a well-kept family. However, in the photo, it shows a mother without any societal pressures and who is also free. Therefore, it could also show Abigail's desires and the person she wanted to be.
Another symbol is the charm that Suzie loses and George Harvey keeps. This charm represents the different time periods in the book. For example, when the Suzie’s family starts to fall apart after her death, the charm becomes lost. However, near the end when Suzie’s family begins to come together, it is found and is returned to the family. Thus, the charm is a symbol of the conflicts and solutions that take place.
Grandma Lynn appears in times of trouble and continues to stay with the family. Therefore, she shows the better aspects of a situation. Grandma Lynn alleviates situations by helping the family in times of uncertainty and grief and is also the only one that seems to be moving on and putting past events behind her. She also keeps the family together and in order. For example, when Abigail leaves home, she moves in and supports the family. Grandma Lynn has most things together and is an important part of the family and story. Without her, everything could have fallen apart.

Hey Alena :)
I am reading one of your essay since I read the same novel. First it would be helpful if you labeled the chapters from HOW TO READ LITERATURE LIKE A PROFESSOR. However, I was able to get the main point of your essay since the thesis was clear; about symbolizing. I like how you actually mentioned that Susie was narrating up in heaven, I forgot to include that in mine. Since I read the novel I would understand the summary section but then I think it would of been better summarizing the charm and Grandma Lynn. Either that, I think it would of been less complicating if you talked just about the mother. Other than that I the sentence fluency was clear but the paragraphs were a bit complicating. Enter on each paragraphs so the readers can understand the essay better. Overall, I think you did a nice job. I can tell you put effort on your work. :D

Essay #3

There are many conflicts that arise in the book The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. These problems are not just between the characters, but represent everyday conflicts in the society. By going deeper into the different situations and events that take place, the connection between the story and societal conflicts also become more apparent.
As the news of Susie's death starts to sink in with her family, the family starts to become more and more isolated from the outer world. The members of Susie's family also start to become more and more separated from one another. Jack Salmon (Susie's dad) spends most of his time in his room thinking about the past and present, Abigail (Susie's mother) tries to move on but is unable to do so, and Lindsey (Susie's younger sister) becomes stuck in the middle of these conflicts and does not know what to do while she also misses Susie. "I saw Lindsey...Our parents were unrecognizable to her; everything was unrecognizable" (Sebold, 31) These complications show the need for conformity and stability in the society because like Suzie's death, drastic changes can come up at any time. With that one event or change, a person's life could also be greatly altered.
When the news of Suzie's death comes out, people start suspecting Ray Singh after a love letter that he wrote to Susie is discovered. Ray is an Indian boy who had liked Susie. The police start to arrange investigations and hear his alibi. Ray is no longer suspected as Susie's killer and is free of guilt; however, this incident can represent the conflicts between different race and ethnicities in a society.
Eventually Abigail moves out of the house and separates herself from her family. By doing so, she shows the societal pressures that are put on women to always have things together and be the "caretaker" of the home. She breaks this stereotype that takes place in the society and moves away from all these conflicts and tries to be free.
George Harvey (Suzie's murderer) is never found by the police. However, he had commited numerous amount of crimes and killed many innocent people in the past. Although it could seem as if there is no justice served in the beginning, towards the end George Harvey lives a complicated life and dies when an icicle hits him on the head. This event shows that wrong actions always have a consequence and that rights and justices are present in societies.
Therefore, by looking at the conflicts that come up in Lovely Bones, one can see that the problems are not just what characters go through, but represent the different conflicts that take place in a society.

Essay #4

It was the cold month of winter when the news of Susie Salmon's death reaches her family. In the book The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, many seasons come and go but they all have different meanings associated with each occurrence or event. For example, it is during the winter when Susie Salmon dies and in spring when Buckley grows his garden.
The book has many different events that are connected to the seasons. However, everything begins from the cold wintertime when Susie is murdered. Winter can be seen as the dark months of the year and could also symbolize the negative parts of life. In The Lovely Bones, it brings death, grief, and isolation to the family.
Years pass by and the family learns to cope and bear with the events that happened during that winter. Many conflicts have come and go, but as the different seasons take place, Susie’s family also goes through numerous changes. Lindsey and Buckley (Susie’s siblings) both grow up and Abigail and Jack (Susie’s parents) try hard to move on. One spring, Buckley starts a garden and waits with hope for it to grow. “He had slowly planted the whole garden with a spade…He was now awaiting his tomatoes, his blue daisies, his petunias, and pansies and salvias of all kind” (Sebold, 288). This garden that Buckley tends during the springtime symbolizes the hope, growth, joy, and newness that comes up during the springtime. Buckley’s garden could also have been a representation or foreshadowing of his family. After the hard cold winter had gone by, the family had tried to put the past behind them and move on. They had hope and were also able to grow during that warm spring, despite the many conflicts that were present during that winter. Eventually the family came together again during the spring season of hope and contentment.

Essay #5

A family gets told of their daughter's, Susie Salmon, death and learns to cope with grief and the many changes that come with it in The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Many months after Susie's death, the family finally starts to adjust to the event and Lindsey, Susie's sister, graduates college. As she returns home with Samuel Heckler on his motorcycle, it starts to rain and the motorcycle breaks down. Worried that her father might become worried, Lindsey heads towards home with Samuel in the heavy rain. Rain can symbolize something good and bad, but in this case, it is something good. The rain symbolizes an end to conflicts and welcomes a refreshing new start. Therefore, it foreshadows the positive events that would happen as Lindsey and Samuel arrive at the house drenched.
It was also at this time that Samuel proposes to Lindsey. Soon after, they start running to get to the house sooner. Although they become soaking wet in the rain, they go towards the house with good news and a bring in a fresh new start. This is because rain represents the washing away of the old and negative things from the past. "I watched my beautiful sister running, her lungs and legs pumping...fighting to see through the rain, fighting to keep her legs lifting at the pace set by Samuel, and I knew that she was not running away from me or toward me" (Sebold, 275). The rain sweeps away the miserable past and as Lindsey arrives at the house, people are able to move on. Lindsey also runs home in the rain so that her father would not be worried, this also shows that Lindsey eliminates many of the problems that her family run into. Once she returns home, everyone is happy about the marriage and many things come into place. It is also at this point in the story that problems in the family and other surroundings become solved. The mother returns home, George Harvey dies, and everyone else comes together again as a family. With Lindsey's homecoming in the rain, the pain of Susie's death which had torn her family apart becomes washed away and positive elements are added into the family.

Hello Alena, :)

To start with your essay, I must say that your use of vocab and sentence structure was written really well. However, as a whole, the essay has weak transitions of sentences. You seem to move on to the next point before explaining your idea that you are focused on at the moment. For example, you can expand on why the charm represents conflicts further before you move on to your next idea. Also, I believe that you could have stated a stronger thesis in your essay since the thesis statement in essays are what makes the readers interested to carry on. Lastly, don't forget to write the authors name along the book title. I'd also like to see your thoughts about how this book relates to the book How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas Foster since it is essential. Your essay delivers your point successfully and seems straight forward and I applaud you for that. Good job and see you in class!


Comment #1

Hey Jungna! :)

You're essay was very neat and well-organized. The points in your essay were clear and I liked how this made the essay more clear as well. But just be careful and watch out for some grammar mistakes. I also liked how you wrote everything in a kind of "step by step" format. I could tell what you were trying to say and what your conclusion was. You also did a nice job of mixing in your opinions with the story in your essay.

- Wonkyung (Alena) Koo

Comment #2

Hello Lauren Kang :)

I thought that your essay was well-written, organized, and very clear. However, I think it could have maybe been a bit better if you analyzed the events a bit more. I liked how you made everything very neat and nicely structured. It was easy to follow and I could understand what you were saying. I also like the quote that you chose for this essay, it seems to tie everything together. Good choice and good job on your essay! :)

- Wonkyung (Alena) Koo