Chapter Twelve: The Lovely Bones Analysis

Needless to say, here are another fusillade of (over) analysed literary quotes from Sebold’s ‘The Lovely Bones’…

~ The Analysis~

  • “To run out into the cornfield where my father was, where I was, where she felt suddenly that the heart of her family had moved” pg 143 – ironic that the heart of the family had moved to the place where Susie’s heart had stopped- perhaps metaphorical for ‘the lovely bones’ (i.e. the connections that tie the family together, this is an indication that they were present from very early on in the family’s grieving)
  • “When Lindsey entered; it was just my father and me” pg 144 – reveals how Susie had not let go of the living world, in fact she still classed her self as part of it, on-par with her living father- as if she was with him in the same (living) state that he was.
  • “the living can go on to other things” “what about the dead… where do we go”? pg 145- emphasises Susie’s childish selfishness- she cares for the living but more so and firstly about herself. Represents the harsh reality that Susie will never grow up, she will remain in this state whilst the rest of the characters continue to progress (Bildungsroman novel)
  • “…Len said, smiling guiltily” pg 146- the juxtaposition between the ‘smiling’ (connoting happiness and freedom of spirit) and Len’s ‘guilt’ (suggesting lack of ease and discomfort) evoke a sense of duality about Len- as if he is trapped in the world of innocence in his life as a cop yet desires the freedom to rebel and be naughty. This is similar to Abigail who almost regrets entering the responsibility of motherhood and herself seeks rebellion.
  • “A strange smile came across my mothers face” pg 147- the sibilance of the ‘strange smile’ is snake-like, perhaps signifying that the idea a mother likes the sound of her daughter’s murder was almost so strange it was threatening. The exhalation of the reader when pronouncing the letter “s” could also mimic the mother’s relief at Len’s lack of censorship over the word ‘murder’
  • “But that No because vague and cloudy, became air sucked into the intake fan of the humming hydrant” pg 148 – alliteration of “h” makes the reader exhale when reading as if to mimic the sound of the fan beside the characters- evokes a sense of environment for readers.
  • “149 “bath time, she sang” – until the end of the page it is notable how happy Abigail seems to be in motherhood, juxtaposing her otherwise regretful self- this could show the progression of Abigail’s attitude to motherhood (her love for it lessened with the aging of her girls), or alternatively perhaps she always felt the same element of regret for her former life but simply was always good at hiding it. “Reached her in waves” – emphasises the fluctuating levels at which she grieved for her former self- not always the same.
  • 150 “I can go back to these moments, like them again…”- ironic since she can never relive a moment, only replay it- emphases how she refused to let go of the living world.
  • “she doled out my clothes piecemeal, not wanting to pressure me” 150 – as if mother and daughter had all the time in the world- when in fact this time was soon to end.
  • “Once my mother was launched I could take advantage of it” pg 151- verb “launched” makes it sound as if Abigail were a computer program, emphasising how her actions were automatic, not considered, forced and not felt.
  • “my mysterious mother” 151 – alliteration, monosyllabic lexis – the repetition of the soft “m” sound could represent how Susie could sense an ongoing difference in her mother, the trait she called ‘mysterious’. Long “m” sound acts to lengthen the otherwise snappy pace created by the monosyllabic lexis, to emphasise how Susie found this mother intriguing.
  • “For both of us, it was about getting lost” 151- idea the child and the mother can both be lost inside their relationships- emphasises how perhaps they never really knew each other at all.
  • “One of the storied my father read to us, and that all of us were on the ocean “…- here we find the recurring theme and motif of the ocean and waves to represent the vast span of mystery within the family, the distance that parts them but also the fact they share in underlying common ground- metaphorically the ‘ocean’.
  • 152 “Marvellous, dangerous, wild” (Len describing Abigail” – emphasises again Len’s desire to be someone other than the PC cop he is desired to be- he is supposed to dislike danger and fear the wild, to tame it, but he finds her ‘marvellous’
  • 152 “She needed Len to drive the dead daughter out” – prominent plosive use (drive, dead, daughter”- perhaps to give the reader a sense of shock, not only was she cheating on her husband, she was also doing it to forget her dead daughter- double betrayal. Alternatively plosives could suggest her passion, the aggressive extent of her need.
  • “It was my father who grew towards us as the years went by; it was my mother that grew away” 153- almost as if the parents are doing the development and the growth of the children- role reversal- their lives have literally been turned upside down by Harvey, the dynamics of their relationship destroyed.
  • “Deaths seemed choreographed” 154- as if the deaths were planned and coordinated, foreseen- hence death is unavoidable- just like if you have been involved in a move in a choreographed dance, when that move comes you are compelled to do it, hence when it is your ‘dance’ of death, it is your turn to complete this also. Makes dying seem more harmonious, almost desirable- you want to be part of the choreography of life.
  • 155 The soles are “like snowflakes”
  • 155 “None of them the same…exactly like the one before”- sparks a mental link to the killings of Harvey- all the girls he have killed are individuals, yet they all share similar traits, all finished in an ungraceful, undignified way.

 

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