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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Literary Analysis #2 The Lovely Bones


1.       Briefly summarize the plot of the novel you read, and explain how the narrative fulfills the author's purpose (based on your well-informed interpretation of same).

Susie Salmon is the main character and also the narrator of this novel. She was raped and murdered on December 6, 1973 by her neighbor. And the story moves on to the afterlife of Susie and she can see the world from the heaven. Officers and Susie’s family try to figure out the crime of her death. The case was going in the wrong direction and Susie was very frustrated seeing the murderer, Mr. Harvey, living calmly life. Susie’s father, Len Fenerman, does not feel satisfy with his investigation, he starts his own investigation of Susie’s murder. This investigation leads Jack to suspect George Harvey. However, police cannot arrest Harvey because there is no evidence linking Harvey to Susie. In heaven, Susie meets and learns the stories of all of his victims. She sees Harvey hide her body, lie to her father and the police, and run from the crimes he has committed. Susie wants to help the living apprehend her killer, but can only watch as the police and her family try to gather evidence and find her murderer. During this investigation, Susie’s family faces troubles. Her mother wants to end the investigation while her father wants to catch the murderer. Susie feels crush seeing her family being like that. However, when Susie’s father gets sent to hospital for heart attack, her family unites again. Meanwhile, Mr. Harvey dies by falling into a ravine. He was never caught. However, Susie is satisfied with her life now in heaven since her family got happy again.

2.       Succinctly describe the theme of the novel. Avoid cliches.

The theme of the novel would importance of family. After the death of Susie, her family worked very hard to find the murderer. Because of that, her family faces many troubles. Watching from the heaven, Susie learns the importance of family. Even though the murderer never gets caught (instead he dies), Susie did not care since her family finally get united again in the end.

3.       Describe the author's tone. Include a minimum of three excerpts that illustrate your point(s).

The author’s tone of this novel is gloomy and vengeful.

“My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.” This is the very first line of the novel. This helps out the reader to understand how the mood of the story will be.

“I knew he was going to kill me. I did not realize then that I was an animal already dying.”

“I could not have what I wanted most: Mr. Harvey dead and me living. Heaven wasn't perfect."

4.       Describe a minimum of ten literary elements/techniques you observed that strengthened your understanding of the author's purpose, the text's theme and/or your sense of the tone. For each, please include textual support to help illustrate the point for your readers. (Please include edition and page numbers for easy reference.)

Foreshadow: when Susie is walking home and meets up with Mr. Harvey, several factors present themselves as warnings she never heeds. Also Susie’s obsession with Ray will prepare us for the love scene at the end of the novel.

Irony: it is ironic when Mr. Harvey uses his victims’ names to refer to his imaginary wife. Also it’s ironic that Susie’s charm bracelet is finally found when it’s no longer needed, not even by her.

Simile: "My parents were like sleepwalkers saying yes to his questions, nodding their heads to flowers or speakers" (p.98)

Metaphor: "Samuel and I saw the tremor. The inside shakeoff of her heart" (p.122)

Imagery: "We both listened together to the rain pour down and the thunder clap and smelled the earth rising to greet us" (Sebold, 211).

Symbolism: “The only sound I made after that was a weak tinkling of bells.” (p.81) Susie's jingly cap is a homemade symbol of her mother's love and care.

Point of View: Susie is the main character of the novel and also the narrator. So the whole novel is based on Susie’s point of view.

“My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.” (p.5)

Mood: The mood that appears in this novel is mostly gloomy. At times, the mood is also suspenseful as we watch Mr. Harvey stalk his victims. In the end, however, it is also about happiness and the quiet satisfaction of the acceptance of life brings.

Setting: The setting is interesting because it is Heaven and the Earth. Susie is in the heaven while all of her people are in the Earth.

Conflict: The conflict would be when Susie gets raped and killed and when her family falls apart.



1.       Describe two examples of direct characterization and two examples of indirect characterization.  Why does the author use both approaches, and to what end (i.e., what is your lasting impression of the character as a result)?

Actually none of the characters are direct characters. Susie is the narrator, so she does not describe herself very well. And she does not introduce her family to the readers that much. Us, the reader has to figure out character’s characterizations by how they talk and acts.

2.       Does the author's syntax and/or diction change when s/he focuses on character?  How?  Example(s)?

The author’s syntax and/or diction do not change when she focuses on character. Susie does not change them when she talks about her family.  She does not get very detailed when she talk about the characters.

“My father was the one who took the phone call on December ninth.” (p.20) This was the first time her father appeared but we never get more description of her dad.

3.       Is the protagonist static or dynamic?  Flat or round?  Explain.

The protagonist is static and flat character. From the beginning to the end, Susie remained innocent little girl. While other characters are changing because of Susie’s death, Susie most likely stayed the same.  

4.       After reading the book did you come away feeling like you'd met a person or read a character?  Analyze one textual example that illustrates your reaction.

I would love the meet Susie Salmon. I want to encourage her and tell her that her family is doing fine. She is a poor little girl who got murdered in horrifying way. And she had to see her family going through bad times in the heaven.

"Now I am in the place I call this wide wide Heaven because it includes all my simplest desires but also the most humble and grand. The word my grandfather uses is comfort.” After going through the worst period of times, Susie finally can be happy in the heaven with her grandfather.


  1. you go girlfriend!based on this aassignment I could tell you had a great grasp on the concept of thid novel and all it had to offer. I commend you on giving such grear descriptions

  2. it's obvious you put a lot of work into this. I watched the movie, but by your analysis, it looks like the book was definitely better! nice work!