Chapter Eleven: The Lovely Bones Analysis

More perceptive (or quite frankly overly-perceptive, if that is a trait in existence…) interpretations and analysis on Sebold’s THE LOVELY BONES: Chapter 11.



~Chapter 11~ The analysis:

  • Pg 126 “My brother was like a rock with a sheet pulled over him” – evokes thoughts of connotation of the dead via the reference to the noun “rock” signifying a cold, emotionless state (like one who is dead)- the sheet pulled across his body also mimic the process of concealing he body of those who have recently died (as seen in hospital dramas for example). Luring the reader into feeling a sense of sorrow for Buckley, or worry that he may be next to join Susie.
  • “My father marvelled at what a sound sleeper he was- just like me” – dark irony, since the dead are often referred to as‘sleeping’, linking Buckley to the state of Susie may be designed to scare the reader and evoke a sense of fear and vulnerability for him. “Even banging pot lids to see if he would wake up” – emphasises the dormant impression of Buckley, alsmost seems dead himself. This implication of danger for Buckley is confirmed within the next few lines “my father checked him, just to make sure” pg 126
  • “He would find clues…in the green paint coating the shingles, or along the driveway, where two large stones sat, painted white” – repetitive reference and emphasise on the painted nature of the stones lining the outside of Harvey’s house- emphasises a sense of concealment: the paint conceals the surface of the stone just as Harvey’s innocence conceals his guilt. Significance of the emphasise on the white stones:
  • In colour psychology white is the colour of new beginnings, wiping the slate clean, so to speak. It is the blank canvas waiting to be written upon. While white isn’t stimulating to the senses, it opens the way for the creation of anything the mind can conceive.

  • Hence from this it is could be considered this is almost inviting Jack to ‘fill in the blanks’, as if inside the house were the answers to tarnish and taint the purity Harvey projects.
  • “I loved the idea that there could be trees in the yard taller and stronger than people” 128 – sense of need for protection, concealment- a barrier to the outside world? Taller could represent her desire for authority and ‘stronger’ her desire for physical or mental strength or ability
  • “I had made a warm spot on the floor of the garage until I cooled” 128 – horrific imagery, uncomfortable to read- culinary connotations- reference to warmth and cooling as if Susie was Harvey’s prey, waiting for her to reach a desirable temperature. Ungraceful, uncomfortable- emphasises tragedy- young girls would want to die gracefully and loved, yet Susie is in a sack in a garage and alone, cooling quietly.
  • Repetition of finite verb “Knew” – “I knew the floor plan” “I knew the bathroom” “Knew how in my house…”- sense of subjectivity: did she know because of the mirrored nature of their houses, hence was this foreboding her destiny- the fact that she was born and grew up in that same house, and it was in an almost identical one next door that she died.
  • “Porcelain was yellow and the tile on the floor was green” 128- odd combination- emphasises eccentric nature
  • “Doll’s houses” – interesting connotations: Note that the doll house is “perfect”. All the walls are papered, there is carpet (represents the perfect childhood Harey never had), but the dolls in the house, the people, are “stiff” — they don’t seem to belong there- they are unable to enjoy the luxury right before them (sense of missed opportunities, outsiders in luxury, insecurity).
  • “Not to alter his pattern…set several clocks…when to open the blinds…when to close them…turn lights on…off…” “He kept things to count, and this counting reassured him” 128 – sense of necessity for structure juxtaposes his spontaneous un-structured childhood- or sense of autism- as if everything had to be exact- need for repetition and hatred for change
  • “He would count them like beads on a rosary” – significance of rosary beads, what are they: (129)
  • Prayer beads, sometimes called rosary beads, are used in the practice of meditation and prayer.

  • The meaning of the Rosary is simply a Catholic prayer based upon the Bible that focuses on the events in the life of Jesus and that of Mary the Mother of Jesus.

  • Emphasises how he felt a sense of tranquillity and calmness from his killings. Juxtaposition to Christianity shows that perhaps Harvey didn’t know what he was doing was wrong
  • “He liked to hold the leather heel and rub it between his thumb and forefinger- a perfect worry stone” – Definition of a worry stone: Worry stones (palm stones, thumb stones) are smooth, polished gemstones, usually in the shape of an oval with a thumb-sized indentation, used for relaxation or anxiety relief. They are used by holding the stone between the index finger and thumb and gently moving one’s thumb back and forth across the stone. Juxtaposed in every way to show how Harvey in himself was almost the complete opposite of the rest of society – rubber is unpolished, it is tarnished, not gem-stone like
  • 131 “He had killed animals, taking lesser lives…” – links to the Christian belief: Early Christians regarded human beings as greatly superior to all other animals. After all, human beings were made in the image of God, and God chose human form for his earthly life. Furthermore, God clearly decreed that human beings should have power over non-human animals. LINKS TO CONTEXT Christianity is the most adhered to religion in the United States, with 70% of polled American adults identifying themselves as Christian in 2014.
  • 131- “the dog wouldn’t judge from the spot” Juxtaposes symbolism of a dog: In Asian wisdom dogs are symbols of: Good Luck, Loyalty, Obedience and Prosperity. – shows how something was seriously wrong.
  • 135 “My father was slowly fitting something together…….it was in my mothers eyes”- juxtaposition between the vast and in-understandable connotations of the ‘ocean’ within Abigail’s eyes and the knowledge Jack has gained from them- suggests a sense of closeness in their relationship, ironic since the sitation is geared around her closeness with Len.
  • Recurring motif of candle- particularly 136- religious symbolism:
    The candle symbolizes light in the darkness of life especially individual life, illlumination; it is the symbol of holy illumination of the spirit of truth. Lit in times of death, they signify the light in the next world, and they represent Christ as the light.- represents how the truth was right beside him (Harvey)
  • Significance of Susie : “I blew that lonely, flickering candle out”- after her annoyance at not being able to help her father, not being able to cast clues- as if she had given up on the hope of being found, she was extinguishing the spirit of truth.


 

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