June 12, 2012
The Western Idea of Success
The American Dream, or the Western idea of Success, can only be achieved “through initiative and hard work” (Tyson 57). Although this is the only way one can become successful, taking charge and working hard means something different to everyone. For some it may mean going through a few years of university just to make lots of money, but for others it may mean being dedicated towards the things they love. The characters in the book, The Lovely Bones, all portray the American Dream in a different manner, especially when it comes to the murder case of a seventeen year old girl named Susie Salmon. Throughout the novel the reader is shown the struggle that the Salmons encounter trying to get through the murder of Susie, and how other members of society deal as well. The three characters that are examined the most throughout the book are Susie’s father Jack, Susie’s murderer George and the detective on the case Len Fenerman. The characters in the book, The Lovely Bones, demonstrate that the western idea of success is misleading.
Jack Salmon, Susie’s father, was determined to find the person who murdered his daughter. Jack was a man of middle class, who worked hard for everything he had and cared about his family more than anything in the world. Although Jack may not have made tons of money, his life still revolved around the American Dream which said to get the things he wanted he had to work hard and take initiative. Jack demonstrates this often when his oldest daughter is murdered and he takes charge of finding the murderer. Upon first hearing the news he begins going “door to door” (Sebold 55) looking for his daughter. He believes that by searching he will find some kind of trace that will lead him to discovering the murderer. After not finding anything he starts looking for clues everywhere else. One day Jack decides to go over to his neighbour’s house whose name is George Harvey. He
Cited: Sebold, Alice. The Lovely Bones. New york: Little, Brown and Company. 2003. Print. Tyson, Lois. Critical Theory Today. New York. 2009. Print