Irony In Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones

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Loss is a feeling that everyone experiences within their lifetime. Although everyone grieves in their own unique way, Elizabeth Kübler Ross argues that there are certain stages consistent among all grievers. These stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones chronicles the Salmon family’s journey from the murder of Susie Salmon to the acceptance of her death. Jack Salmon is the character who most closely follows the five stages of grief as defined by Elizabeth Kübler Ross, and serves as a stereotype for dealing with grief. Immediately following the loss of a loved one, the first stage of grief is denial. Denial is the “conscious or unconscious refusal to accept facts, information, reality, etc.,” (Chapman) and is apparent in Jack’s refusal to accept the substantiated evidence of Susie’s murder. Jack maintains that “[nothing] is ever certain,” (Sebold 20), and this phrase becomes symbolic of his denial throughout the earlier…show more content…
Depression is an early form of “acceptance with emotional attachment [, and it is] natural to feel sadness and regret, fear, uncertainty, etc. It shows that the person has at least begun to accept the reality” (Chapman). Jack’s sporadic outbursts of tears, which occur often throughout the novel, demonstrates this emotional attachment. Jack’s depression is evident in “refusing to let [Susie’s] place in his family's life fade” (Hacht). Buckley confronts his father about his neglect of the living family asking “‘But what about us? … Us, Dad. Me and Lindsey. Mom left because she couldn’t take it’” (Sebold 257). When Jack realizes how he has neglected the rest of his family who are also struggling with grief, he suffers a heart attack. In the hospital, Jack sees Susie in his room and, by letting her go, makes the final step in reaching
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