Chapter Nineteen: The Lovely Bones Analysis

More analysis, more words, more essay-like explanations…read on!

~The Analysis (19)~

  • “…her morning ritual of an early coffee drunk while staring out at the grape vines grafted row upon row of sturdy white crosses”- tranquil tone, as if this is what Abigail had always wanted and now she has it. Juxtaposes the later mental state of Abigail when she receives the call on the next page. 262
  • “she repeated the strange words: husband, heart attack”- the alliteration when said allowed by the reader also sounds like a whisper with the sound of the ‘h’ flowing past the reader’s lips. Mimics the hushed tone of shock within the situation- emphasises the fragility and Abigail’s mind and her state of bewilderment. 263
  • 264 “…which made her blue eyes seem even bluer in contrast”- as if the ‘ocean’ within her eyes was intensifying- as if she was even more lost than before. Shows how her greed for freedom only led to more loss and confusion. Reference to ‘pony tai’ instead of Sebold referencing solely her hair ‘tied back at the base of her head’ emphasises how Abigail has been in a youthful state- she has had few responsibilities and now she has been landed back with them.
  • “…like the ubiquitous photo of a celebrity”- referencing Susie’s photograph- as if death made a person a celebrity. Susie achieved what everyone else didn’t want- everyone else (Abigail, Ruth, wanted anonymity- Susie had no choice- she is famous.)
  • “I barely managed a close-lipped grin”- devastating tone- she fact she was so self conscious and missed her last chance to leave her mother with the smile she so desperately loved. Also saddening to reference her self-consciousness considering the indecent way she died. 265
  • 266 “But though she was, by definition a mother…”- shows what Abigail had tried to escape from- the idea that her meaning and purpose in life was orientated around the presence of her children.
  • “She had been punished in the most horrible and unimaginable way for never wanting to have me” 266- brutal tone as if she almost deserved what she had coming, hint of religion
  • “…suspended and immobile for the first few moments”- links to idea of fantasy- freezing time, impossibility
  • “mom…..it tasted soapy and foreign in her mouth”- ‘soapy’ signifies an unpleasant taste, something that shouldn’t be there- signifies that to Lindsey in that moment, her mother seemed out of place, just as Abigail had felt all those years before. 267
  • 268 “Being who she was- whoever that was”- shows how her desire to be free of motherhood and for escape only ended in her loosing herself completely.
  • “Like a rat bulging, undigested, inside a snake: the secret of Len”- significance of snakes symbolising danger and threat, the rat being the prey for the predator, the vulnerable innocent target. Threat references the danger of destruction to the Salmon family, they were the target, the prey for Abigail’s predation of Len.
  • “Full of hate and  tension- a riptide of blood to swim through”- reference to water and waves- however this time is doesn’t symbolise freedom or loss, it symbolises the sheer scale of hatred Abigail must fight. An ocean of blood which she must ‘swim’ through- she must cut through the pain she has caused.
  • “Underground storage room of hate…heart to stone heart to stone”- recurring motif of the heart and the stone. Fragility of Buckley’s emotions, partial death of emotions.
  • “…she placed it between her powder and comb” (referencing the note about Len’s pending arrival)- relevance of the make-up- perhaps referencing appearances, the fact that Abigail had tried to cover up her relationship with Len but people found out- in a similar way that people try to cover their flaws with makeup but it can easily be taken off.


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