The Lovely Bones

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The Lovely Bones

In Alice Sebold’s moving novel The Lovely Bones, Sebold explores various elements of humanity and the emotions that accompany it by crafting a story that readers can instantly connect with. She is unforgiving with the degree of how blunt and straightforward her tale starts out, as the main character Suzie Salmon is brutally raped and murdered within the very first chapter. The rest of the book examines her family and friends and how they all cope with this loss; this is all from the perspective of Suzie herself, who resides in a heaven-like state of being for the majority of the plot. Sebold conveys the idea that horrid, repulsive choices and actions can send ripples down the lives and futures of a wide range of people, and that those choices and actions can be either detrimental or constructive for those effected, depending on how each individual responds to the hardships. She is able to effectively display this claim throughout her story by applying the use of pathos in the somber mood and themes of the plot and by exercising symbolism in the connection between certain objects, people, and events that tie the novel together. The most blatant element of The Lovely Bones that an audience first connects with is its use of pathos. Loss and grief are central to its ability to tug at readers’ heartstrings. When Suzie is raped, pathos is percolating through the pages as the reader instantly feels pity, horror, and sorrow for this little girl they’ve known for less than a chapter. Regardless of whether that reader has a daughter or not, they can still sense the innocence and vulnerability of Suzie, and connect it with a personal memory of vulnerability they have had themselves. And because the news and media relentlessly emphasizes and publicizes sexual harassment and abuse and exploit it for all it can, readers are drawn to this familiar sense of sadness and sympathy for these victims. It has become second nature for them. Also, the...
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