Snapshots: The Lovely Bones Analysis

Quite frankly lengthy and rather overly-detailed analysis of the interlude between chapters 16 & 17.



~The Analysis (Sn.Shots)~

  • Susie’s obsession with the camera is ironic- she desired to “rescue the moment” of the photograph, to rescue the moment that “would now be gone forever except for a picture”- this is ironic since it was utterly unnecessary- when she died Susie could replay these moment and re-visit them. It is as if, in heaven, she has everything she wanted, yet still she is unhappy- just like with the other characters. When they get what they desire they feel the desire more. Juxtaposes Christian beliefs about greed.
  • 214 “He willingly gave the grisly details to any customer who asked- young girl, cornfield, found only an elbow” – as if this had become the definition of Susie, three/ four words to define her existence (and it orientated around the end of it). Reveals the way the dead saw the living.
  • “A Chinese red” 215 (Abigail priding herself on being able to wear such colours)- red connotes danger and lust, desire- hint that she had always been ‘wearing’ her desire for danger, an escape from motherhood.
  • “A family with five little girls moved into Harvey’s house” 216 – ironic that in the list of those Harvey had killed in previous chapters it was stated he had killed five little girls (and a 49 year old, hence not little and excluded from 5)- almost representative of the girls he had killed, the lives he had taken. As if their spirits had come to slumber in the place they had died, or with the man who killed them. Haunting. Eerie tone developed in line “The sound of little girls- girls to spare” to give a suggestion that they had no use, as if they were already dead only back to haunt the house of Harvey
  • “Play without that always-worried look underneath the smile”- as if the incident had tarnished their existence, so that even a smile was never the same- something had changed. Idea of a mask- masking the worry with a smile.
  • “Weak men changed into strong half-animals” … “when he felt his heart he turned into something stronger than a little boy” 217 – hardening himself like Lindsey had years earlier. If the children knew what to do and where capable of it, why didn’t the parents do the same? Growing up. Bildungsroman.
  • “A heart that flashed from heart to stone; heart to stone”- he too has been tarnished by the death of his sister no matter how he tries to conceal it. “Stone” again suggests an element of cold, unfeelingness about his personality- seems to be present in all of the family (e.g. father’s heart described as a ‘cave’, the mother’s ‘icy’ exterior)- as if a part of them all died alongside Susie.
  • Significance of Buckley drawing the Inbetween, the story about Susie’s death- seems as if Buckley knows what happened to Susie without being told- as if he is connected to her in a way that is never explored. This is added to by Buckley’s previous statements of Susie talking to him.
  • “Finally they found an old coke bottle” 218- ironic that such an insignificant ‘regular’ object would hold the evidence (Harvey’s fingerprints) to convict him
  • “As if he had evaporated into thin air” 218-metaphor- perhaps shows his ’empty’ existence- there was so little to his life (no wife, no connections, no passions, no base to trace him to) that he could his life could disappear into the molecules of the air. There was such little to define his life it. So little that he may well not exist- “officially, he did not exist”. He left behind his passion as well “He had left behind his doll’s houses”- what left was there for Harvey?
  • “He had tried to save solve my murder and he had failed” “He had tried to love my mother and he had failed” – sense of duality about his life- what he desired to be outside of his job (daring- to love Abigail) vs the professional detective that he was- he had failed at both because he was greedy- if he hadn’t been with Abigail and accepted his life as detective he would have achieved one of the two  things.
  • “easy to get” “physical” “anonymous” 220 (the traits that ‘sounded good’ to Abigail)- grasps at the idea that , now she was free of everything and everyone (in particular: motherhood) she was in fact, no one. As if, again, motherhood defined her and she now doesn’t have that.
  • 222 “She felt like she had driven through nothing but families for four days- squabbling families, bawling families, screaming families…”- description shows how she was glad to be free- she doesn’t seem to miss her family since she is only capable of seeing the bad times, she hasn’t paid attention to the good.
  • 222 “I worried about her slipping” – strange- as if the tone of Susie was more mature, as If it had grown- she seems to have lost her childish selfishness from previously in the novel in which she would have been so selfish as to wish for her mother to join her, and hence perhaps, however harshly- fall on the rocks so she could do this.
  • 222 “My mother’s desire to reach those waves”- as if the recurring motif has finally been given a definite meaning- she desired freedom. The ‘ocean’ in her ‘eyes’ was her longing for freedom.
  • 222 ” was life more like a horrible game in gym… running from one side of an enclosed space to another” – reveals Susie’s lack of life experience- the fact she describes life as a school PE lesson shows how she never really lived to experience it. As if you can live life inside of an ‘enclosed space’. Claustrophobic.
  • 224 “Knew only my name” “felt like a pin prick” “Being simultaneously resurrected and buried within the same breath”- sticks with the idea that Susie’s identity is links only to ‘the dead girl’- as if it would be every child’s dream to be forever in everyone’s minds, yet it is not what anyone would really want- known for an unfortunate circumstance that came to define your existence.
  • 225 “Could his mind contain anything else?”- Susie’s childish selfishness resurfaces again to rekindle the idea- Susie will never grow up.
  • 226 “The closet was for sleeping and for having an address” ” A tiny perch in the city”- sense of need to belong
  • 227 “The world she saw of dead women and children had become as real to her as the one in which she lived” – sense of being an outsider- she couldn’t connect with the living hence the sort to connect with the dead. Gothic like tone. Links with the idea of fantasy- not really possible to link with the dead. m
  • 228 “had been torn down to make room for more houses”- sense of developing world, progression, industrialisation.
  • 228 “He tenderly stripped their bodies of any valuables and moved on”- instinct- just as his mother had taught him- ‘tenderly’ shows a sense of respect for the dead
  • 230 “The trees in the yard grew taller”- symbolic of life moving on in the physical ‘real world’
  • “I would study with Ray” “with my father in his den”- Susie has still not let go of the living or accepted the fact that she can no longer really ever be ‘with’ them.


 

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