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The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones

by Alice Sebold

The Lovely Bones Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Mortality

In The Lovely Bones Susie Salmon recounts, from the afterlife, her grim and violent death by the hands of her rapist and neighbor, George Harvey. Susie says that the way we die, and the needs, desi...

Love

As a vital counter to all the death and violence, The Lovely Bones offers us a tender vision of familial love, and a variety of love affairs and romances. We watch the uncomplicated love of super c...

Violence

The Lovely Bones makes no bones about it – it's a very violent book. It begins with Susie's brutal rape and murder by George Harvey and looks at his other crimes. This violence is also a viol...

The Supernatural

This is where things get fun. Whereas we know that the violent crimes in The Lovely Bones are reflections of brutal reality, the supernatural events of the novel leave us room to indulge our imagin...

Sex

Other than a single kiss and a few fantasies, Susie's rape is her first experience with sex. In The Lovely Bones Susie describes how her sexuality changes and grows after her death as she watches t...

Family

The Lovely Bones examines the opposite extremes of family life. On the one hand, we have the Salmons, a happy loving family with a stable life in the suburbs. On the other, we have Mr. Harvey, who...

Time

Susie's conception in time greatly expands once she exits Earth. She knows what time it is on Earth, but sees that each person is their own clock. When that clock stops, a newer deeper kind of time...

Rules and Order

The Lovely Bones takes a look at how the order and safety of a suburban neighborhood in the 1970s is utterly disrupted by Mr. Harvey's rape and murder of Susie Salmon. Harvey is the disruption of o...

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