Depression In Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones

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Grief. Something that everyone experiences after a tragic moment in their lives. All people handle it in different ways. Some cry, while others sit back in silence. Some resort to violence and others experience depression. Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones tracks the lives of the characters after their beloved daughter, sister, and friend, Susie Salmon dies. Although all of the characters grieve, Jack Salmon, Susie’s father, grieves in a unique way that most closely follows the grieving pattern described by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler Ross. At first, he denies Susie’s death, then he becomes angry and depressed about her death, and finally he comes to accept it near the end of the novel. Jack Salmon is the character in The Lovely Bones…show more content…
Often times after loss, “mourners are unable [to] regain a sense of normal, functioning life without their object of loss,” (McClinton-Temple). A successful stage of acceptance, however, helps in allowing the mourner to move on. Jack first begins to accept his daughter’s death when he attends “the first impromptu memorial in the cornfield...yearly now, he organized a memorial,” (Sebold 223). These memorials provide a sense of closure for him, and after the memorials, he no longer hunts down Mr. Harvey or complains to the police, but simply accepts that his daughter is gone. The point where Jack truly moves towards acceptance occurs when he sees the daffodils in the hospital and says “‘It’s Susie’s flower.’ My father smiled beautifully,” (280). Throughout the novel, whenever Jack thought, heard, or saw something reminiscent of Susie, he would cry and become saddened. This time, however, when he sees Susie’s favorite flower, he smiles and becomes pleased. Being that “Jack...grows closer to [the children],” (Hacht) and the children depend on him, they begin to accept Susie’s death, too. With Jack’s help, they do not forget, but accept Susie’s death, and move on with their lives as a
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