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.
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.
This book forms part of my studies for (surprise surprise:) English…hence since I seem to be rebelling again the idea of a theme within this blog, I thought I’d add a bit of analysis within it. Why not. *refrains from using abbreviated hashtags*.
Side note of significance: The recurring theme of rabbits…in terms of symbolism, it generally goes as follows-
Symbolic rabbit meanings deal primarily with abundance, comfort, and vulnerability. Traditionally, rabbits are associated with fertility, sentiment, desire, and procreation. Rabbit meanings are also closely linked to the seasons, the changes of Mother Earth, and specifically Springtime.
In the previous chapter the rabbits become apparent for the second time- they sought out the gloves of Susie’s left by Lindsey. They “investigated” them. This could be Sebold juxtaposing two things: Susie (symbolised by the gloves), and the rabbits. The rabbits (as noted above) are representative of comfort, fertility, desire, procreation- all of the thing Susie can never have and will never be. Thus perhaps the rabbits represent all that Susie can never have, or they may highlight how far from them she is, in both body and spirit. On a literal level, she if far away. And spiritually, she is too, since she is a ghost and they are living- in two different worlds.
Alright…now onwards with chapter seven: things to point out-
- “Like everyone else I was trying to protect him (Buckley)”- he is trapped in his youth and is isolated by the lack of knowledge this brings him. The good of others is isolating him. pg 91
- “graphic prints meant to stimulate children” – indication into the lack of parenting- pictures replace the attention parents were supposed to give. pg 92
- “Lindsey would tell the night that she had to move on”pg 92 – ironic since this was exactly her coping strategy when she lost Susie. As if she had already grieved/ developed a method before even knowing what would happen. Foreboding? (Since Susie acted as the dead knight…and she was the one who actually died.)
- “there was a hole…. inside things I didn’t want anyone else to see” pg 93- here develops the recurring motif of a hole, especially for the purpose of hiding things (in Susie’s case it was her personal objects, in Harvey’s, is was his desire (to kill)). It could be giving a false sense of hope: Susie’s hole beneath her bed was where she kept things she wanted no one to see, yet they were found. Is this Sebold suggesting that what was inside Harvey’s hole beneath the ground will too be discovered?
- there is the “stained and bloody twig” that almost killed Buckley. It is ironic that something so insignificant and small (not even a branch or a stick, it is a ‘twig’) could (on the juxtaposing side) cause so much damage. Reader can almost imagine the twig in Buckley’s throat- horrific imagery. pg 93
- “Painting toenails” “glitter” “seventeen”- lexical field of youth and glamour- juxtaposes the blood and gory nature of what it so come for Buckley. Also juxtaposes the lack of elegance in Susie’s death. pg 93
- “A breeze came up, blowing the fringe on my cutoffs against my thighs”- pathetic fallacy- using the weather to express a calm, tranquil mood. Almost synaesthesia- as if the breeze was audible and the fringe tickling her legs was a sense of touch. pg 94
- “Swung” “ran” “slid down the banister” “jumped…the fence”- semantic field of heroism. Scene of saviour.
- “Buckley was choking. His body bucking”…strange coincidence that his near death experience sounds similar to the name his parents gave him? Hint at the fate of live? pg 94
- When Lynn suggests Susie will have a long life, Susie notes “as usual…was wrong”. As if Susie should of known then that she was not to live a full life. As if when Lynn said something it was always wrong, hence she should have expected to die. Suggestion of a series of clues leading up to her death. Fate? pg 94
- “Wow, Nate said…marvelling at how over time red blood turned black” – mimics the scene with Harvey holding the knife he used to kill Susie. Foreboding? pg 94
- “Crows were lined up, their beaks holding crooked twigs”. Take note of the symbolism of crows: they’re cunning, symbolise death, war, sign of change (e.g. new beginning / impending death. Could it be relevant there is the mention of a “widow” a few lines prior, and a few chapters on Susie’s grandfather joins her in heaven, presumably leaving someone a “widow” on earth? Hence the impending death may seem insignificant to the reader, but when analysed it could be a clue.