Study Guide

The Lovely Bones Time

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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 is revealed. Yep, good old eternity. For Susie, everything that happened to her on Earth is endlessly far and endlessly near her in time. The Lovely Bones also looks at how photographs preserve and reactivate moments from the past, rendering them useful for present existence. Furthermore, it argues that remembering the dead – through art, thought, and chronicle – is a vital human activity, which can make things much easier for those who are no longer in the Earthly realm.

Questions About Time

  1. How does Susie's conception of time change after her death?
  2. Are time and memory interconnected in the novel?
  3. What is Ruth's relationship with time in the novel?
  4. How does what Susie's murder change the nature of time for her family?
  5. Why is it so important to Susie and the other murdered girls that they be remembered? Do you think it's important to remember the dead? Why or why not?

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