Losing someone you love and deeply care about is something us humans avoid talking about. We each deal with loss and grief in different ways, and this is something the novel, ‘The Lovely Bones’ written by Alice Sebold, emphasized. Sebold effectively uses a range of techniques to express this idea, including first person narrative, pathetic fallacy, oxymoron and symbolism.
To begin with, first person narrative is used by Sebold to portray the idea of loss and grief and how different people move on in different circumstances. Susie Salmon, the main character is used in this case. After being raped and murdered in 1973 at only 14 years old, she acts as an omniscience narrator. Through this, the audience is given different perspectives on her death and how each of her family and friends deal with her tragic loss. Susie also speaks of her own desires and how she longed ‘to grow up’. Family members appear to deal with Susie’s loss in a different way as they each experience different emotions. However Susie never judges them on their individual coping mechanisms. For example, her mother condones in a ‘merciful adultery’ with Len Fernerman and this demonstrates that there are no right or wrong ways to grieve a sudden loss. Her father shows his grievance through revenge whereas the likes of Lindsay, Ray and Ruth keep their emotions to themselves. As Susie herself struggles to accept her death, she spends up to 8 years watching her family mourn and this further emphasizes to the audience that grieving a loss is a long journey and that time cannot be substituted. Through the use of this first person narrative, Sebold uses a dead character to teach the audience about loss and grief and how time is the only way to heal the pain it inflicts. As each death is different, they are also dealt differently by those directly affected and this subsequently teaches the audience to be more accepting and sensitive when it comes to the individual process of grieving.
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