As always, more essay-like analysis that was intended to be more like a few sentences…sorry. Only one more section after this chapter- ‘Bones’.
Continuation from previous chapter twenty two analysis. Click here.
~The Analysis (23)~
312- “The smell of his mother’s baking had sneaked up the stairs and into Ray’s room where he and Ruth lay”- ‘sneaked’ creates a tender atmosphere, it didn’t take over the room, only came slowly and subtly into it. Homely atmosphere, as if the pair should feel at home where they are- at home together. Stereotypical mother- baking.
“A bit of moonlight feel across the floor from the window where I had…followed it….Ruth’s bag”- gothic motif- as if it were a supernatural signal, Susie communicating with him, telling him to read the journal. Spooky way to lead Ray to the book, signifies that what the book holds is equally as sinister and mysterious.
“…stared into the throats of the bright yellow flowers” 313- seems to be a recurring personification- describing nouns in the natural world to have throats, and (like the sink hole) perhaps stomachs too- as if they have their own personality, or are a full representation of something else that does (e.g. Susie)
“I knew they were meant to be there, the four of them together, alone” 314- sense of unity which juxtaposes the initial explosion of the family. Susie seems to be loosing her childish desires to be a part of the family, and instead is watching from the outside- accepting the family as a whole without her. Suggests she is growing mentally, even if not able to physically.
314 “The cruelty was in his absence”- emphasises Ruana’s lonliness. She felt his absence was ‘cruel’ suggesting an almost physical pain from the emotion. The fact he was ‘ghost-like’ when he was there suggests a lack of connection between the two. There is no warmth and no emotion, just a suggestion of a being- shows Ruana seems emotionally deprived as well as just lonely.
Significance of the thought of divorce when cutting apples:
Apples and apple blossoms are ideal symbols of love, youth, beauty and happiness- everything Ruana once was but perhaps feels she no longer is- she desires appreciation and presence. She wants a new beginning.
“Her Abigail…her strange Abigail”- 316- nominations become more familiar- shows how the family is changing, becoming closer, more understanding. Throughout the novel there seems to be the message of overcoming the flaws of others, learning to love them (e.g. Jack learning to love Abigail’s weakness). Lynn has learned to love her ‘strange’ daughter. Susie appreciates her grandmother’s flaw as solely a quirk of her personality- “now I saw that drinking was a part of what made her who she was”
“He banged. And he banged and he banged and he banged” 317- repetition (onomatopoeic) emphasises the sheer level of noise- it seems as though the house is the loudest it has been in years- the most alive. The family us regaining life.
“…as if she were standing at the edge of the Pacific”- recurring motif of water and oceans- but this time the character is referred to as being on the edge of the ocean, not within it. Sense of regaining control- she is on the edge of wilderness but not wondering into it. Progress.
Significance of Susie’s room being ‘lavender’ which matches the colour Harvey’s house was repainted after he moved out?- as if Susie is encapsulating him now just as she did his house (in a manner of speaking)?
318 “wildlife photographer, had captured a woman”- strange that Susie would refer to her mother as ‘a’ woman (indefinite article)- shows an appreciation for the side of her mother that she didn’t know, or never got to understand. Shows that she accepts this fact, that she still doesn’t really know her mother.
“Her mother was solid if she was drunk, solid if she was vein”- again, shows an acceptance for the flaws of others. Accepting what she can’t change, and can’t run away from.
“Spotting a man through the window…”‘It’s Ray…'”- shows a definite development- Ray has gone form boy to man, Ruth from a ‘girl haunted’ to a ‘woman’. Emphasises Bildungsroman nature of novel.
Yes, more again. Sorry. Analysis of Sebold’s The Lovely Bones…continuation from previous analytical blogs: see previous here.
~The Analysis (22)~
300 “Unwatched, unloved, unbidden”- almost given as the definition of Harvey. Pitiful impression of the man who killed Susie- reader feels almost guilty for sympathising with him.
“I was in Ruth’s eyes…I was looking…I could feel…I felt”- shows Susie’s childlike excitement at being given life one last time. Her marvelling at the sense shows what she doesn’t have in heaven, and what she can’t do. She is living in heaven (in a form) but isn’t really alive- she can’t live through her senses as they can on earth.
“I smiled at him one-thousand-watted”- shows the energy she is able to radiate on earth- the power she feels.
“…people were throwing rose petals as they saw Ruth Connors”- Symbolism of rose:
“Sometimes cats fall ten flights out of the windows of high rises…”- as if falling from heaven was like a cat falling from a window- vulnerable, able, alive.
305 “I could have left this place to claim another. I could have gone anywhere I wanted to”- saddening prospect- the little girl reminiscing over all misses opportunities like an adult that has never grown up. Similar to the way adults point out the things they never did in their lives when thinking about the past, which make it sadder that Susie never got to miss them, she just didn’t have the choice.
306 “Even at the hottest I could make it, I still felt cold”- indication that she is still not fully with Ray, she is still partially dead.
“I cupped his elbow in my palm”- significant that the first body part Susie touched was Ray’s elbow- the one part of her that gave an indication of her fate.
“…bonfire in the classroom…yelling in the halls as loud as I want”- shows what freedom means to a child like Susie- again references her limited experience
“The dark bright pity of being human” 309- oxymoronic – as if being alive isn’t always better than being dead- it is just as dark as bright.
310 “Look what happens when you dream”- change of tone. Seems direct. As if Sebold is making a statement (declarative) directly to readers.
“That was how it felt to leave earth the second time”- this time Susie’s death of dignified, peaceful, as if she is receiving some type of justice.
And more still- more analysis of Sebold’s The Lovely Bones as a continuation from before the fashion posts… click here for previous chapters. The content for 20 is being used elsewhere.
~The Analysis (21)~
283 “I counted the lashes of each closed eye”- emphasises Susie’s seeming abundance of time in heaven- the absolute lack of stress, lack of worry, lack of responsibility. The traits of heaven seem to be typical- they are also what all of the other characters seem to desire- freedom, no responsibility.
“I would not be good enough to match …those I read in Seventeen and Glamour and Vogue” 284- emphasises the effects of these magazines on a young girl- references Sebold’s view of their negative impact on teenagers, feeling as if they will never be good enough to match the glitz and glamour of Vogue. Also emphasises Susie’s naivety- as if what she reads in magazines represent reality, or the way her life should be lived. Almost as if these magazines were her bible.
“My first kiss came from a grown man. A father of a friend” (Lynn)- this is equally shocking and not at the same time- not, because Sebold has expressed Lynn’s spontaneity previously, and shocking because of the situation itself. Relevant that her first kiss wasn’t a shared or equal experience. It was special for her (he was the first man she’d kissed) but for him she was just another kiss. No indication that he meant anything to her. Perhaps he took advantage. Sense of vulnerability about Lynn. Gullible and needy just like Susie. “You’re not going to tell on me, are you?”- Lynn suddenly reverts to the childlike person she is presented to me.
286 “happy + frightened = churned” – Susie explaining her feelings in the moment she kissed Ray as a mathematical expression. This shows how almost illogical the moment was for her, it emphasises how she had never done it before- as if she needed to draft an equation in order to be able to understand the components and the outcome.
“some poor sap’s car is going to fall into it all over again”-subtle indication that Harvey will kill someone the same way he killed Susie again?
“Concrete fills the throat and grout fills the cracks” 286- personification of ‘throat’ again to make the filling of the sink hole sound almost murderous- as if by covering the hole they are concealing a life- which fits with what they will effectively be doing if they knew Susie was buried there.
“These animals smelled the brokenness in him- the human defect- and stayed away” (talking of Ellis and his lack of recovery to being called an animal killer)- he is trapped by no physical boundaries, only his emotions- links to the idea all character are trapped in some way by something in the novel.
“She was holding my father’s hand. I suddenly felt terribly lonely”- 289- Susie’s childlike selfishness resurfaces again- like before asserting the fact that she will never grow up.
“Abbie”- 289- one of the only times Jack uses the colloquial nomination for his wife- as if the death is finally turning the family around- it had to go from good, to bad, to better. The connections are tightening.
290 “We found it near a grave” (referencing the charm of Susie’s found by someone supposedly NOT CONNECTED TO LEN OR THE POLICE earlier)- the fact he used the pronoun “we” to take responsibility for the work of someone else shows his saddening desperation- he needs to steal (metaphorically) of others in order to feel achieved in his current life.
“My parents were suddenly still for a moment- like animals trapped in ice”- emphasises how they had frozen in the moment, time had stopped an ceased to continue. Emphasises their shock at the word “grave” and the mistaken indication that it could be Susie’s. Almost gives the reader time to realise what has been said- since perhaps they may not have understood the first time or realised the significance of Len’s words, just like Len didn’t.
“Open it, Abbie”- second colloquial nomination from Jack- sense of permanence about their new relationship, closeness.
“A tiny ember of gold in my father’s palm” 291- this was one of the only things the father had left of his dead daughter in the world- taken literally without reference to the material, it was literally ‘ a tiny ember of gold’ for him- signifying how immense the value of such a small object was to a grieving father.
“Frankenstein’s monster on wheels”- Susie’s childlike descriptions of everyday objects emphasise her eternal life as a child. Emphasises how she never obtained the experience to be able to expand on her descriptions. This is the stage in life at which she remains.
292 “He cut himself with the pen knife along the back of his hand” “it was an accident”- shows how young Harvey knew what he was doing wasn’t an accident although he convinced himself to see it that way. Seems to have no regard for pain or suffering (since he supposedly didn’t bother to clean or cover his own cut or his father may not have noticed it so easily). Shows how Harvey had trained himself to excuse his actions as accidental even though it didn’t make sense- it was a theory by which he lived his life.
“How long it would take before he began to remember me”- childlike eagerness. Shows her eternal position as a child.
“It’s spooky around here, Ruth’ Ray said”- as if he could sense the presence of the dead also. 293
“cocoa-coloured flesh” “soft and convex”- personifying the hole to make it seem as if it literally ‘ate Susie'(with references to throat and stomach)- not a glamourous way to die. As if the sink hole has its own personality, and it’s own identity, with which it swallowed Susie.
294 “There was a whole village inside the earth that no one knew about”- this is the village that Susie went to when she herself was inside the hole- heaven. The only difference being heaven is thought to be at a height, not below.
“Ruthie”- shows progression of their relationship- the fondness that developed with time.
“The earth’s throat burps”- continual personification- as if it has digested something….SUSIE.
“Awkward plaid skirt” “covered in Holiday’s fur”- 295- shows how he found her flaws attractive- the most genuine type of love, makes Susie’s tragic death seem even more saddening
“the house that would soon be demolished”- links to development, things are physically changing, life is moving on.
“Don’t you want anything Susie?” 295 – use of “anything” suggests Ruth thinks Susie currently doesn’t want anything, when in reality it is obvious what Susie desires- life, Ray, the ability to grow up. But Susie knows she cant have these things, and perhaps so does Ruth- prompting Susie to think about what she wants from heaven, what she can actually have.
296- “simple but elegant clothes she might convince my mother to wear”- almost Lynn defining Abigail- she is simple but elegant. Too simple, perhaps, to cope with the death of her daughter.
196 “Past caring who spotted him”- first real piece of evidence that signified Harvey’s degradation as a person- he used to do all possible to avoid getting caught and now he is almost presenting himself to the neighbourhood.
“A neighbourhood of potential victims”-297- the world ‘potential’ signifies a change. As if they could be Harvey’s future victims, not would be. Sense that Harvey is changing, he will not definitely kill these children, but he could.
“The new owners painted it a lavender mauve”- symbolism- motherly colour, other symbolism:
Variations of purple convey different meanings: Light purples are light-hearted, floral, and romantic. The dark shades are more intellectual and dignified.The negative meanings of purple are decadence, conceit, and pomposity. Purple is also a colour of mourning.-As if the house can now mourn for the loss of life in Harvey’s presence.
“The queasy kick of an empty room”- sense of haunting- a mother’s instinct- she is a mother herself, hence she can sense the death in Harvey
298 “He had chosen to tell the truth”- evidence Harvey is changing- accepting a moment in his life that is not made up
Significance of Ruana’s flower being the periwinkle:
Periwinkle: benevolence, charms from the heart, gifts that delight the spirit. Also speaks the honour of freedom to be yourself, and allow those you love to do the same- STRONG SENSE OF FREEDOM.
Significant how thinking of how he killed Susie brought back memories of Harvey’s mother, and the charm- did the father kill Harvey’s mother in the same way? Is this why Susie is so connected to Harvey? He was reliving the death of his mother, but this time he was in control.
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.
As with the last chapters- more over-analysed quotes from Sebold’s The Lovely Bones…
~The Analysis (18)~
“The old woman that rented the closet liked to listen in, so Ruth tried not to talk much on the phone” 248- Idea that Ruth is trapped in the place she is supposed to feel most safe- her home in the town. Links to the idea of captivity within the rest of the novel. Lonely perception of the old woman: perhaps she felt the need to listen to Ruth talking to her father since no one ever spoke much to her, also the idea she rented her closet suggests that is all the space she had in her house for people to stay- hence presumably not many people stay with her (besides Ruth who doesn’t care where she stayed).
“The city had very little to do with her interior life” 249 – suggests she does most of her living on the inside- she lives through her thought and connection with the dead, hence perhaps this is why she makes ‘people nervous’ on the outside- she only lives within, outside she is dead.
“You could see the skitter rabbit energy” 249- recurring theme of rabbits- symbolise her vulnerability- Also traditionally, rabbits are associated with fertility, sentiment, desire, and procreation- suggests her desire to be who she really wants to be (sexuality wise?) is a fire that only burns within- she prefers to keep herself to herself…yet people can see through to her soul through her eyes. “People never said anything about her eyes”- is this because they are dead (links to earlier point), or because they have a distaste for what they see?
Significance of dressing all in black- doesn’t state this is her uniform- coating herself in the colour of mystery and desire- what she desires to be? Mysterious and desirable?
Also interesting how Ruth appears to be linked to Harvey- she ‘makes people nervous’ like her does, she evokes reactions from dogs like he does…
“No one knew where she was at any time of the day and no one waited for her. It was an immaculate anonymity” 250 – sense of utter isolation about Ruth- it seems as though she has no one in the world that would miss her if she was to end up in the same state as Susie- yet she never becomes suicidal. Sense of strength about the character of Ruth, as if living along side the dead was giving her the strength and motivation she needed. Anonymous just like Susie’s mother desired to be- she shared links with the family without realising.
“Ruth knew her status as a freak at school”- stereotypical high school culture. This label utterly juxtaposes her position as a ‘celebrity’ in heaven. Almost oxymoronic.(pg 250-1). She had no friends in school (besides Ray) yet fans in heaven. Perhaps this is why she associates more with the dead, she can sense an appreciation she doesn’t get from the living.
252 “her ardentness was off-putting”- the fact that people can find Ruth’s positivity conversely negative suggests he doesn’t belong among the living. The people of earth find Ruth strange, and cannot connect with her supposedly ‘human’ emotions- hence perhaps her ‘fans’ in heaven understand what the living don’t.
“It was better to look like you were doing something when you stared into the distance” 252- evokes a sense of similarity to Mrs Utemeyer when she was narrated to sit and stare into the distance just as Ruth desires- Utemeyer was ‘part dead’ due to her lack of a brain- perhaps Ruth is too, half dead?
“Her journal was her closes and most important relationship”- she can form her closes relationship with something that is not living- again links to the fact that she is not similar to the living, she connects more with the dead, and objects that cannot be classed as alive.
“Ruth counted the living just as much as she counted the dead”- shows she just has a natural tendency to connect with the dead, since it is not as if she devotes more time to them, they just come to her.
“School librarian…tall, frail woman with wiry hair”- stereotypical school librarian- fact this was Buckley’s favourite teacher shows how he is different- he is similar to Ruth, not chosen first in gym- shows how he has a connection with the dead similar to Ruth (shown when he states Susie talks to him, yet we never get clarification from Susie that she actually does this. Could someone else dead be talking to him?)
254 “…when he was unable to sleep and scanning the few books on gardening that the school library kept”- shows how Buckley is wavering from the stereotypical high school boy, he is doing things not considered ‘cool’- becoming an outsider- just like Ruth and her hobbies were not stereotypical or cool. “the few…that the library kept” shows how his desires and passions were a minority.
“He didn’t like what he read in books”- he has an active mind, just like Ruth when she read books- always wanting more than the pages could offer- reverting to her mind.
“…work shed in the garden, where he kept his tools and supplies” 254- evokes an alarming similarity to Ruth- she used to write poetry in her father’s tool shed in the garden and now Buckley is concealing his desires in a tool shed in the garden…foreboding: he will turn out just as ‘freaky’ as Ruth.
“The curl up like a hand unfolding”- Buckley describing his tomato plants 255- simile shows how Buckley find them welcoming- again links to Ruth- they find dead objects (or at least, in comparison to a human life- dead) in a way more welcoming than the living.
257- relevant that Jack blacks out when he and Buckley are arguing over Susie? Was it her that caused the heart attack not wanting the relationship between rather and son to deteriorate in front of her eyes? Sensory language (“cold” “damp”) foreshadows the father’s collapse- almost puts the reader in the place of Susie- we know something isn’t right with him and that something will happen, yet Buckley doesn’t. Reader given insight into future just like Susie has.
258 “If he died, I would have him forever” – emphasises again, as in previous chapters, how Susie has maintained her childish desires- shows how she is never growing up.
“We stood- the dead child and the living”- the first time Susie seems to acknowledge the fact that she is different to the living. She doesn’t say ‘two children’, she acknowledges that there is a difference between her and her sister which she has previously not done. Shows how she is almost ready to leave earth behind.
“air and cover ” “little boy and wounded man” – seems as if the quotation goes a lot deeper than solely speaking of their current situation. As if this is the state they shall remain in forever due to the trauma of Susie’s death- this is what they will both never grow out of. Buckley will remain a small frightened child, and Jack a ‘wounded man’.
260 “I saw the brick paths advancing as I advanced” – physical impossibility- links to fantasy genre- “rending and tearing of time”- again, fantasy genre, defying the physical possibilities of time
….and even more only-analysed quotations and idea’s from The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold.
~The Analysis (17)~
“She imagined trees split down the middle and houses on fire” 234- emphasises that, despite the description of Lindsey’s growth at the beginning of the chapter, she was still young, and has the youthful over-active imagination
“Old Victorian house”- brings the recurring symbol of houses and buildings- representing protection, a belonging, a future.
“more and more of these undeveloped patches were disappearing…that marked my childhood”- life is progressing without Susie- the world is moving on, her childhood is disappearing only to remain in the minds of those who love her.
“We lived in one of the first developments”- sense of roots to that spot, they will forevermore be bound to that area, as if an anchor holds the family to its foundations- where it originated.
“I feel like I am in a cave” “It is so quiet in here you can barely hear the rain” – feels as if they were hidden from the other world- perhaps symbolises her desire to be rid of it- childish dream to live away from the world with her ‘one true love’. Hence perhaps she is fantasising, letting her imagination take her to a place that is fitting with the environment.
236 “It was not longer a Susie-fest on earth”- represents the passing of time, immaturity and youth of Susie- again, childlike self-consideration
“…unzip their leathers the lightning stopped and the rumble in the throat of God- that scary thunder- also stopped.” – link to Christianity with reference to God- thunder being described as something from the ‘throat of God’- links to idea of fantasy within the scene
238 “my brother was at the most awkward stage of adolescence- not boy, not man” – sense of lack of identity, of need. Significant that Susie got to watch this- since she herself is neither lady nor girl, she is around the same age, she is neither girl nor woman, but just dead.
“Staring at photos of a woman he felt he barely knew anymore” 239 – “A woman” indefinite article shows how he feels he has lost knowledge of her- saddening to think of how the death of one thing had lead to the death of another- Susie’s death lead to the death of their relationship.
“Part of what I loved about photography was the power it gave to me over the people on the other side of the camera” 240 – shows how Susie craved authority, she craved power, she craved growing up.
“Diving under and up into a mask somehow” “The mask was almost, but not quite, in place”- shows Abigail was trapped by the front she had to put on for her family and her children.
“Both of our eyes were open underwater, a new skill- newer for her” 242- rendition from childhood, sense of growing, remembering when Susie was able to experience new things with her Sister in the real world- as if this bit of living aided her sister who was able to run with Samuel using the “skill from the pool”.
“Like someone who had survived a gun shot, the wound had been closing, closing- braiding into a scar for eight long years” – “gun shot” emphasises the physical torture- as if the emotion had swelled to such a state it become physically painful- as if it could actually threaten her life. “Scar” shows she will always be affected- always have a mark in her mind of her sister, no matter how vast the time span became. 242
244 “Lindsey and Buckley had come to live their lives in direct proportion to what effect it would have on a fragile father”- almost role reversal- one would expect the father to be making amendments for the children having lost a sibling, the man being the strong one, but it seems the children have taken his place. Note the fricative “fragile father”.
“It was Buckley…who saw me” 245- still had a connection to the dead
“my face…which had not changed- the hair still parted down the middle…hips undeveloped”- emphasises how Susie is stationary beside the fast paced progression of the world
“I could hear the voices of those who no longer lived on earth” 246- as if many were like Susie-Obsessed with keeping a hold on the living but never quite being able to hold them- always having someone to watch even if they had misinterpreted their own significance. Idea of longing, having someone on earth with which to belong to- an anchor.
“the sound of life”- as if, since she is no longer living- it is only her senses through which she can live- through witnessing the progression of her family, hearing the ‘sound of life’
“Recognising the tension of that moment when the world in the bottle depended, solely, on me”- hint that Susie is understanding the benefits of letting go of her grip on earth. She is beginning to evoke a sense of maturity again, as if, she can grow in mind if not in body. She is becoming less selfish- she understands the living must be left to leave their grief and move on.
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.
More incredibly over-analysed quotes from Sebold’s The Lovely Bones…see other chapters in previous blogs.
~The Analysis (16)~
The most immediate aspect of the chapter that strikes me as interesting is the similarities between Abigail and Ruana- both use distractions to keep themselves from thinking about all they have lost- for Abigail her life before motherhood, now her daughter, for Ruana her husband, and her freedom.
201 “He wore his glasses” “they were thick” “his hand went up immediately to collect them” – again evokes the impression of not being able to be who you really are- he doesn’t want to be seen to be wearing his glasses.
204 “There was something on the other side of the icy surface” – as if her gradual loss of motherhood had left her with something ‘cold’, almost as if she didn’t have a personality outside of motherhood, her gradual reduction was leaving her personality-less. She had been so consumed by motherhood she had nothing to replace it. May seem strange that her maternal instincts could ever allow her to be ‘icy’ towards her own daughter- especially one who has lost her sister.
“Our house looked the same as every other…but it was not the same…murder had a blood red door” 206- as if the murder had given them identity.
207 “I want to be more than a mother” …”wanted to be more than a girl”- desire to always be what you cannot, greedy desire when Susie will never get that choice. Links to mother’s desire to be “free girl again”- Susie has exactly what her mother wants- Susie will never grow up, yet, as expected, she is unhappy with this.
“she comes and she talks to me (Buckley) 208- Sebold still retaining the idea Susie exists among the living.
“I was becoming one of the many little-girl-losts” 209- idea of insignificance, as if she would just fade away into a list of names for the dead. Implies there will be more like Susie, and the same would happen for them. A vicious cycle.
210 “You’re going to catch your death of cold” – ironic since she was killed in what could be considered outside, yet it was not the cold that killed her.
211 “you look invincible”…”I am”- ironic since she was killed at such a young age, yet it could be said she never really died, since she continued to live in a different state in a different life up in heaven.
As before, crazily analysed quotes from Sebold’s The Lovely Bones. I apologise in advance for the essay…
~The Analysis (15)~
188 “Getting caught became another moment of his life that brought fear- that sick feeling…like eggs being folded in a bowl”- here it is noticeable the reference to casual domestic life when in contrast to the seriousness of the subject. Perhaps this quote gives reason for Harvey’s skill of covering the evidence of his murders- he had done it form a child- out of force, sense of duty to his mother, not choice.
“You have to be able to look passed the dead’ his mother said” – as if nothing of his personality we know of as evil and unjust in the book was his choice. He was (and still is) solely a little boy obeying the desires of his equally as lost mother. “Sometimes there are good trinkets to take away from them”- he followed this instruction also.
189 “Do you want the eye or the heart”? … The eye” – Harvey choose to keep the trinket of the eye over the heart- perhaps symbolises his insecurity- an ‘eye’ represents nerves, as if he was constantly on the look out, constantly aware- he had no capacity for love.
190 “he had a moment of clarity about how life should be lived: not as a child nor as a woman. They were to two worst things to be” – as if killing made him either a man or a boy- it was the only way he knew to avoid becoming a woman or a child (perhaps symbolic of weakness?). Or perhaps he will trying to rid the world pf what he thought were ‘the worst things to be’. Making the world a ‘cleaner, nicer place’.
“Take action only after calculating the worst possible outcome” 190- Harvey was the best practised criminal in every way- it was how he had been brought up- the only way he knew to live.
192 “evidence of what they look to be extreme loneliness and a room full of beautiful dolls houses”- the fact they found evidence of his loneliness suggests the extent of it…this makes it seem strange that he could so willingly kill those he brought home, rather then embrace the company he do desperately needed. The significance of the dolls houses: just like a dolls house represents an individual life, he could be building all the lives he could have had, all the families he has lost, keeping them with him, if not in reality.
195 Len taking Abigail to the “filtration system or the water plumbing plant”- all of their encounters have been based around the site of something functional- a filtration system, a fan- perhaps suggesting that their embraces are also only functional- they serve a purpose just s the fan or the system- to help Abigail forget.
195 “I could drown in those eyes Abigail” – again, recurring motif of water, waves, the ocean, drowning. As if the inside of her was so vast and unreachable- the more you spent time with her, the less you understood.
196 “the foreign territory enough to soothe her” “feeling of being unreachable”- she wanted nothing more than to be someone she never had- she is finally achieving her desires of freedom- juxtaposition shows her sorry state of mind, she finds comfort in loosing herself.
“My mother had my body as it would never become” – clarity and reemphasis on the fact that Susie will never grow up.