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Quote Analysis from Sebold's 'The Lovely Bones'

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1792 words Published: 18th Apr 2017

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Quotes from Lovely Bones- #1-15



“The two of us watched the snow fall gently around the penguin. The penguin was alone in there, I thought, and I worried for him. When I told my father this, he said, “Don’t worry, Susie; he has a nice life. He’s trapped in a perfect world.” (pg3)

This quote connects to the theme of the perfect world; linking to the heaven that Susie goes to after her death.

-This quote reveals Susie’s “life” in heaven by connecting her to the penguin in the snow globe; feels lonely even living in a perfect world, which in Susie’s case, heaven.

-This quote emphasizes the word “trapped” which foreshadows Susie in heaven where she would be trapped in the Inbetween, not letting go of her life on Earth.

“I knew he was going to kill me. I did not realize then that I was an animal already dying.” (pg4)

-This quote shows the death of Susie, and how this violence has heavily impacted her experience in heaven. Susie could not let go of this event and lingers around on Earth because of this violent death.

-This quote develops the character Mr. Harvey. It shows his inner violence and cruelty by showing how he slaughters teenage girls like animals.

-This quote connects to the theme of violence because it shows how Susie was killed by Mr. Harvey.

-It also develops one of the main conflicts of the novel: the rape/murder of Susie Salmon which was the initial incident that started the entire story.

“I could not have what I wanted most: Mr. Harvey dead and me living. Heaven wasn’t perfect. But I came to believe that if I watched closely, and desired, I might change the lives of those I loved on Earth.” (pg20)

-This quote shows that heaven is not perfect; not every wish of the dead if fulfilled.

-This quote also demonstrates the theme of not letting the past go because Susie still wants to watch over her family and her loved ones on Earth; she is refusing to forget everything and move on.

-This quote is also foreshadowing the things that Susie will do to her family members later on in the story, and shows how her selfish decision of not forgetting the past will change their lives forever.

“He wore his innocence like a comfortable old coat” (p.26)

-This quote shows that Mr. Harvey is used to the killing living things and has previous experience with murders. So experienced that he learns to put on an innocent disguise without feeling guilty about the things he has done.

-This quote also shows that Mr. Harvey is a serial killer with lots of blood on his hands. It shows that he got away with so many crimes that even he believes his innocence.

“That way of missing would mean that I had accepted that I would never be with them again; it might sound silly but I didn’t believe it, would not believe it.” (Pg27)

-This quote connects to the theme of not forgetting about the past because Susie refuses to miss her family. She still believes that she is a living person, that she still has the chance to live and grow again.

-This quote shows Susie’s inner feelings about her death and her hatred towards Mr. Harvey for taking away her life.

“In the drawing a thick blue line separated the air and the ground. In the days that followed I watched my family walk back and forth past that drawing and I became convinced that thick blue line was a real place- an Inbetween, where heaven’s horizon met Earth’s. I wanted to go there into the cornflower blue of Crayola, the royal, the turquoise, the sky.” (pg34)

-This shows the setting of the story: the Inbetween. Susie enters the Inbetween world which she refers to as the “thick blue line”

– This quote contradicts with Susie’s attachment to Earth because she says that she wants to go the sky instead of being trapped in the Inbetween world between heaven and Earth.

-This quote also confirmed Susie’s death and tells the readers that Susie is able to look down at Earth, at her family.

“That’s how they operated. They didn’t shut down their desire to know just because the smell was bad or the object was too dangerous. They hunted. So did I.” (pg51)

-In this quote, Susie compared herself to the dogs in Evensong. She compared Mr. Harvey to the dangerous object. It shows Susie’s determination to hunt Mr. Harvey down and punish him with justice.

– This quote also connects to the theme of not letting go because it shows that Susie is still attached to Earth and that she still wants to chase after justice of her murder and the truth.

“Then, as his consciousness woke, it was as if poison seeped in. At first he couldn’t even get up. The guilt on him, the hand of God pressing down on him, saying You were not there when your daughter needed you.” (pg58)

-This quote shows the inner guilt of Jack Salmon for not being there to save his daughter when she was murdered; his guilt was represented with the poison that seeps into his blood and conscious. It also shows how the death of Susie acts like poison; destroying the entire Salmon family.

-In this quote, Jack Salmon also feels a heavy weight on him as if he was experiencing the same thing Susie was experiencing when Mr. Harvey lay on top of her before she was killed.

-This quote is also hinting that the God is telling Jack to seek revenge for his dead daughter, as well as foreshadowing the future when Jack is so crazy about catching and killing the murderer.

“What did dead mean, Ray wondered. It meant lost, it meant frozen, it meant gone. He came to realize something as he stared at my photo—that it was not me.” (pg112)

-In this quote, Ray sinks into the thought of death and this connects to the theme of loss. The loss of life, the loss of existence on Earth, and the loss of a beloved family member for the Salmon family.

-This quote uses a photograph of Susie to explain how she will forever be frozen at the age of fourteen; showing how photographs can help with the continuation of memory and also a proof of existence; a proof that Susie was once alive.

“If you stop asking why you were killed instead of someone else, stop investigating the vacuum left by your loss, stop wondering what everyone left on Earth is feeling, you can be free. Simply put, you have to give up on Earth.” “This seemed impossible to me” (Pg120)

-This quote connects to the theme of not letting the past go by because it shows Susie refusing to move on from the past; she thinks it is impossible for her to stop asking why she is dead, wondering what her family is doing and closing up her murder case.

-This is also foreshadowing that Susie will stay around her family members and observe their daily life and it relates to the previous quote about how her not letting go of Earth would end up affecting her family members’ lives.

“At fourteen, my sister sailed away from me into a place I’d never been. Inthewallsof my sex there was horror and blood, in the walls of hers there were windows.” (p. 125)

-This quote is an emotional appealing comment from Susie watching from heaven because it shows one of the reasons why she is not able to move on: she had an unfulfilled life where she did not have a chance of falling in love like her sister, and did not have a chance to be loved.

-This quote is also comparing the two different lives of the two Salmon girls by comparing their sexual life: Susie is raped and killed while Lindsey is willingly making out with her boyfriend. In a way, Susie is growing along with her sister by watching her every step in heaven.

“How to commit the perfect murder was an old game in heaven. I always chose the icicle: the weapon melts away.” (p. 125)

-It is showing Susie’s gentle personality with her choosing to use an icicle because it is sharp enough to scare Mr. Harvey but not enough to kill.

-This quote is Susie’s sarcastic approach to her death: she is already murdered, and yet she is still playing a murdering game in heaven.

This quote also ironically foreshadowing the future when Susie scares Mr. Harvey with an icicle, and he accidentally falls into the ravine and dies.

“When I was sure, I would find a quiet way, and I would kill him.” (Pg127)

-This quote was said by Jack Salmon (Susie’s father), and it shows his determination to seek revenge for his dead daughter.

-It shows his great hatred towards the killer and also showing the strong love of a father; strong enough to come over moral ethics and strong enough to overcome fear of killing someone and breaking the law.

“What I think was hardest for me to realize was that he had tried each time to stop himself. He had killed animals, taking lesser lives to keep from killing a child.” (pg131)

-This quote shows character development for Mr. Harvey in both a positive way and a negative way. This is because it shows that he had killed many animals from the neighbourhood and shows the sin that he already has.

-It also shows the conscious living inside Mr. Harvey’s head that prevents him from killing children (except for Susie.)

“When the dead are done with the living, “Franny said to me, the living can go on to other things.” “What about the dead? I said. Where do we go?” She wouldn’t answer me. (pg145)

-This quote connects to the theme of letting go of the past because I Franny, the heaven counselor, is giving Susie advice; trying to help her to finish up her connections on Earth and letting her attachment fly away. This way, her family could continue on with their lives.

-This quote also shows the confused Susie; she doesn’t know where she belongs; she is unsure about what she will do after she lets go of her family.


Sebold, Alice.The lovely bones: a novel. Boston: Little, Brown, 2002. Print.


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