Literary Analysis Essay on Lovely Bones

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1540 Words
Date:  2023-02-07


A novel critical analysis is a subjective task to the author's literary work. Literary analysis, therefore, takes work of fiction in another dimension to understand how parts, character, and themes of the novel contributed to the whole job (Goldmann & Sheridan, 1975). Other areas emphasized while analyzing literary works include plot, context, and literary devices. The novel Lovely Bones is an excellent literary work to analyze; Alice Selbold writes the fiction as her first novel. The title of the novel connects with the story as Susie says that "these were 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..., the price of what I came to see as this miraculous body had been my life, (Sebold 25)." There are still other elements of the story that need to be analyzed and understand the whole work by Alice.

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Summary and Context

The novel is based on a story of a teenage girl 14 years of age who is tortured raped, and murdered. She watches her friends and family go through problems and stress due to her death during her heaven. Susie Salmon is the protagonist who narrates the novel; she is rapped and killed in Pennsylvania suburban by a serial killer (Mirabella, 2016). Susie waves back to 1973, the year she was killed, but she narrates the story in the year 2002. The novel has been worldly accepted and recommended in scholarly works. Other people, people like Peter Jackson have related the book to film after buying the rights from Alice Sebold. The first chapter Susie tells about the story about she was raped and killed, and many people would want to know what happened to her next. A reader might end up asking many questions like, what happens after she killed. Who is giving the story in the first place? Alice knew that she could capture people attention after bring her death up, and many people would probably continue reading the story.

The other area of the chapters she talks about supernatural power and the mortality being. Susie says, "We had been given, in our heavens, our simplest dreams" (Sebold 17). This signifies that she could watch whatever is happening on earth without her presence and she could do a thing like an average human; the novel continues to create suspicion throughout the context especially the ending of the chapters. Supernatural and mortality powers are interestingly connected to the story - the need to reveal to authorities and her family the reality about the incidence of her death. The novel Lovely Bones also relates to the early life of Alice Selbold in many ways. In her early days and schooling in campus, she walked through a park off the Syracuse campus when she was raped, and the rapist managed to escape. She decided to report the case to the police officer, but they could not help her because they didn't recognize the rapist. It is the same things she experiences when Susie tries to unveil something that she could do. Susie says, "I watched Abigail preventing Len from receiving Jack's information about the possibility of incriminating the sketch" (Sebold 205). The fact the see tries to tell whisper something to her mother while in ghost form, but she could hear shows some people on earth could not understand her. However, the lovely bones connected to her as she wavered around planet seeing them.


Susie expresses the love she feels to the friends and family as they struggle with life without her. In heaven she watched her dad and Abigail take a glance at photos they both had. She feels that the family should be relieved from stress and finally find the rapist who killed her. Susie says, "I hope they get the bastard. I'm sorry for your loss," this shows that she cares and feels sorry for the friends and the entire family. There are other love instances where she watches the complicated love affairs of her sister and Samuel. The killer is labeled as an unloved person who deserves to die and go somewhere else. As a ghost she feels great love to her first love and soon spreads as love triangle to Ray Singh and Ruth Connor. She expressed the complicated love seen in earth in the book as she says, "Nothing is ever certain" (Sebold 25). The significance of the statement is that the love triangle is something that she never believed it could happen, she goes on and says, "Sometimes the dreams that come true are the dreams you never even knew you had" (Sebold 25).

Susie Salmon also contributes to the idea of mortality and the manner people live afterworld. She is capable of doing manner things in heaven and seems comfortable than she was on the earth. She could not only watches from heaven but vividly recall what she went through saw while young, "Inside the snow globe on my father's desk, a penguin was wearing a red-and-white-striped scarf. When I was little, my father would pull me into his lap and reach for the snow globe" (Sebold 120). This shows that she could remember and watch; she meant that the dead watches what people are doing on earth, and therefore, there is a need to live a better life and avoid misunderstanding.

The theme of violence and sex is also brought into the context by Alice. "Murderers are not monsters; they're men. And that's the most frightening thing about them" (Sebold 135). Alice could not believe why some people in the society have a capability to kill and rape. Harvey is depicted as someone who is brutal and is happy when he watched people suffer and took control of their bodies after killing them. When Harvey says that "You aren't leaving, Susie. You're mine now"(Sebold 34), Susie knows that everything is not in order and she was in danger. The theme of sex extensively revels in the novel. Susie says that "At fourteen my sister sailed away from me into a place I'd never been. In the walls of my sex, there was horror and blood, in the walls of hers there were windows" (Sebold 138). The significance of the phrase is that Lindsey and Samuel had sex for the first time, and there is the presence of blood which contrasts with the rape incidence that was as a result of Harvey's brutality. The blood is made Susie remember to remember that she had been kissed once by someone she loved before being rapped, she says, "I had been kissed once by someone I had liked" (Sebold 167). She also describes the different types of sexuality exhibited in the society as she portrays Ruth character, "It was not so much, she would write in her journals, that she wanted to have sex with women, but that she wanted to disappear inside them forever, to hide" (Sebold 45). This mean that many people are in the processing of discovering their sexuality, just like Ruth struggled with her situation.

Setting and the Title

The lovely Bone is a set of places where coincide with everything in the story. First of all, there are afterlife and life on earth. The significance of the setting is to bring in the idea of the human being life and supernatural and mortality power (Freeman 7). While on earth, she lived in Pennsylvania is known to be an area of liberty, freedom, and peace. However, it is not the case when Susie says, "It was still back when people believed things like that didn't happen" (Sebold 51). This is the reason as to why the local authority failed to figure people like Harvey as killers; therefore, Susie is telling the world that security should not be taken for granted in any place. Susie provides people with an intriguing look into the afterworld, and she said, "All you have to do is desire it, and if you desire it enough and understand why ... it will come" (Sebold 25). This statement prepares people psychologically that one day life will end and heaven is a beautiful place, on the contrary, people desire to get to heaven but fear death.


Conclusively, literary works can be used to educate people, counsel, and enable critical thinking. Susie plays a huge part in attracting readers to have the motivation to read while connecting two different setting and mortality powers. The novel is based on the story of a teenage girl who is raped and killed on her way home from campus. The book has a great significance on the issues that happens day to day in society and needs to be addressed. The police officers in Pennsylvania thought that everything was in order in terms of security, but Susie says that it all about ignorance. She manages to address issues that she thinks those who die in brutal and violent incidence also needed to do more with their lives.

Works Cited

Freeman, N. (2012). Ghost Stories. The Encyclopedia of the Gothic.Goldmann, L., & Sheridan, A. (1975). Towards a Sociology of the Novel (p. 1). London: Tavistock Publications.

Mirabella, L. (2016). Strong Bones: Taking Back Her Narrative in Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones. In ENGL 4384: Senior Seminar Student Anthology (p. 119).

Sebold, A. (2015). The lovely bones: a novel (Vol. 13). Pan Macmillan.

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Literary Analysis Essay on Lovely Bones. (2023, Feb 07). Retrieved from

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