The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman
Scarlett Amber Perkins
Scarlett only appears in two of the novel’s eight chapters, but she sure has an impact. Scarlett doesn’t seem to have any supernatural powers, but she can see Bod – even though Freedom of the Graveyard keeps him hidden from other humans when he’s in the graveyard. It could be that her ability to see Bod is just an example of the kind of connection they have.
After all, they meet in each other’s dreams. How much more romantic can you get? Yet, any romantic feelings they might have for each other aren’t allowed to grow. In "Characters: Nobody Owens" and in “Narrator Point of View,” we talk about Scarlett’s reaction when Bod feeds Jack Frost to the Sleer. We argue that Scarlett points out that Bod might enjoy his revenge a little too much, which Scarlett doesn't like at all. She says to Bod, “You aren’t a person. People don’t behave like you. You’re as bad as he was. You’re a monster” (7.772). Well, there’s a lot more to talk about…
Scarlett’s Memory (Loss)
First of all, we don’t know if Scarlett’s comment really represents her value system. Scarlett has just gone through a horrible experience. She’s had a knife held to her throat by the man she thought was her bud. And she’s just watched that same man being tortured by a supernatural creature she can’t even see. It’s dark. It’s cold. She’s in a graveyard with a really weird kid who might have just killed four men. In short, she’s shocked and overwhelmed. Maybe, just maybe, Bod would have looked different to her in the morning light. Maybe, just maybe, they could have had a conversation about it, even an argument, and in the process both learned something.
But, just like the first time Bod and Scarlett go visit the Sleer, they don’t get a chance to talk about it afterwards. Bod, at least, gets to deal with the experience over time. Not so with Scarlett. The first time, her parents convince her the experience was imaginary. But at least that time, she returned to the graveyard to tell Bod that he was brave and that she believed in him. The first time, she keeps Bod in her memory.
The second time, though, Silas erases her memory before she can think through the experience. We think Silas did this because if Scarlett decided to go to the police or something and tell her story it might: a) cause trouble for Bod at the graveyard, or b) cause people to think Scarlett’s insane. Still, does anybody else find this disturbing?
We know Silas can manipulate the minds of humans, even Jack Frost, but does he use this power for good in this instance? We really don’t like the idea that vampires or other supernatural critters could go around erasing our memories. Sure, we forget all sorts of events from our lives, but that’s different from somebody else actively messing with our minds, changing the way we remember our experiences. Do you think Silas was had a right to do what he did? Do you think Scarlett will feel strange, like she’s missing something? Do you think there’s a chance that Bod and Scarlett will find each other in the future? Do you think they should?