Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones

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In Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones, Susie Solomon stands as the protagonist of the novel whose life is cut short by her foil character, Mr. Harvey. In Susie’s narration of her family’s coping with her unexpected murder, she emits pure love and tenderness in a naively large supply for everyone until, and in most cases after, her final interaction with Mr. Harvey. Even in her death and her placement in purgatory, “[Susie] worried that [her] sister, left alone, would do something rash”(29) and “[she] wanted to kiss [Franny] lightly on the cheek or have [Franny] hold [her]”(41). This natural desire to protect her sister and to give/receive comfort from her friend similarly condemned to purgatory shows how her death did not change her character,…show more content…
Harvey seems comfortable with the act of killing, Susie expresses that “how to commit the perfect murder was an old game in heaven. [And she] always chose the icicle: the weapon melts away”(125). In choosing a weapon that would melt away and be unable to actually hurt another person lies the basics of Susie’s ideals as well as reaffirm the difference between Mr. Harvey and herself. In Susie describing her family finally finding happiness after her death as “the lovely bones that had grown around my absence: the connections - sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at great cost, but often magnificent - that happened after I was gone”(320), she proves herself as having matured during her stay in purgatory. She has come to peace with her death and accepted that the lives of her family will go on either with or without her presence. As Susie finally fulfills her desire to stop Mr. Harvey from being able to hurt anyone else by influencing his death (comically with an icicle), she is able to not only protect other young girls, but also stands as a warning for what can happen if you place your trust too readily in others. Mr. Harvey’s purpose as Susie’s foil was to act as a maturing agent for Susie, allowing her to finally pass on to heaven while continuing to protect those living in using her death as a
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