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The Lovely Bones

Discussion of social norms in the novel + synopsis + personality behaviour Susie Salmon
by

Brittany Rabak

on 1 April 2013

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Transcript of The Lovely Bones

By Alice Sebold The Lovely Bones Synopsis "My mother hung on the refrigerator a picture that Buckley had drawn. In the drawing a thick blue line separated the air and the ground... that thick blue line was a real place-an Inbetween, where heaven's horizons met Earth's" (Sebold 34). Personality/ Behaviour Setting (1973-1981) California New Hampshire Pennsylvania Susie's Heaven Themes Death Love Justice Grief Social Norms Depression Bargaining Acceptance Anger Denial Stages of Grief Salmon, Susie Shy Mature Obedient Student Creative Supernatural Religion Rape Murder Heaven Susie Unsolved Devotion Life Death Family refuses to believe that Susie has died Porch light is always left on Abigail avoids thinking of Susie as a method of coping Jack destroys ships that he and Susie had made together Lindsey blames herself Jack harasses the police Lindsey refuses to look in mirrors Abigail distances herself from everything to do with Susie by running away to California Jack is unable to stop crying and writing in his journal Susie's family realizes that they need to start over and accept the loss Susie's bed is made and her room is cleaned Abigail returns home after being away from her family for eight years "Evidence was mounting, but they refused to believe" (Sebold 25). "I watched him as he lined up the ships in the bottles on his desk... Some were perfect, but their sails browned; some had sagged or toppled over after years. Then there was the one that had burst into flames in the week before my death. He smashed that one first" (Sebold 46). Lindsey breaks into Mr. Harvey's house to find evidence that he is guilty "By August, Len wanted to establish some boundaries for his sake and for my father's. My father had called the precinct too many times and frustrated the police into irritation" (Sebold 131). "My father tried to let go of any blame, of any hope, but it was impossible. He did manage a small smile once" (Sebold 213). Porch light is turned off Susie learns to let go of her past "I was done yearning for them, needing them to yearn for me" (Sebold 318). Obsession The big question... WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DIE? Christianity Beliefs There is one God, made up of a trinity: God the Father, God the Son, & God the Holy Spirit
The Bible is the word of God
Jesus Christ is the son of God, who died on the cross to save us from our sins
We are all forgiven from our sins so long as we have faith in God
The believers are granted entry into heaven when they die, but the non-believers must suffer in hell
Heaven is a place without sin; its residents enjoy the company of God, angels, and other believers
Hell is a place full of sin and hate, ruled by Satan. Non-believers will perish in hell "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, so that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16) Islam Beliefs There is one God, Allah (same God as Christians and Jews)
The Qur'an is the word of God, as revealed to the prophet Mohammed
Reject the Christian trinity (Jesus is not the son of God)
To get into heaven, you must follow the 5 pillars, which must outweigh your bad deeds. Other ways to get into heaven are by dying for Allah's cause killing non believers or sinning all your life, spending time in hell, then being forgiven by Allah and accepted into heaven.
The 5 pillars are:
Testifying to Allah's one-ness
Praying five times a day
Giving charity
Fasting during Ramadan
Pilgrimage to Mecca
Heaven (referred to as "Janna") consists of seven levels.
Hell also consists of seven levels. The level of hell depends on the degree of offenses. Non-Muslims will remain in hell forever, but it is unclear whether or not the same is true for Muslims
Allah can rescue from hell those he chooses Followers: 2.2 billion Followers: 1.4 billion Secularism Followers: 1.1 billion Beliefs Nothing created everything
There is no god or higher power
There is no afterlife How does the protagonist conform to the social norm of religion? Susie Salmon rejects the social norm of religion Religion is not discussed in the novel, excepting the following quote by Ruth Connors:
"'I don't mean la-la angel-wing crap, but I do think there's a heaven'" (Sebold 82).

No religion discussed implies that religion was not a big part of Susie's life.

Susie becoming "un-dead" for a short time defies the religious views of death and afterlife Deviant Behaviour Dwelling on the Past Susie survives despite this social norm. "And whoever desires the Hereafter and strives for it as he ought to strive and he is a believer; (as for) these, their striving shall surely be accepted." [17:19] "The fact that life evolved out of nearly nothing, some 10 billion years after the universe evolved out of literally nothing, is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to do it justice." ~Richard Dawkins Paranormal Activity In the 1970's, one in nine Americans believed in ghosts.
Therefore, the social norm was that ghosts did not exist Susie survives depite the social norm of paranormal activity church attendance = crime suicide alcohol abuse Pedophilia Religion in the Lovely Bones Deviant Behaviour in The Lovely Bones Death Morals Afterlife Communication with the dead How does the protagonist conform to the social norm of deviant behaviour? Pedophilia Psychological Disorders Sexual Immorality Murder Profile of a Serial Killer vs. Profile of Mr. Harvey Serial Killer Mr. Harvey Both Male Caucasian Target strangers Don't hold a steady job Come from an unstable family Raised by a single parent Family has criminal history Hate father Abused Involved with sadistic activity Sociopath Suicide attempts High IQ Motivated by jealousy 20 - 30 years old In the end, Mr. Harvey learns only how life should not be lived, "not as a child or as a woman" (Sebold 190). Deviant Behaviour in Society Arohn Kee - Raped and murdered three girls
- Victims lived in his neighborhood
- Let some victims survive
- Arrested in 1998
- Sentence: 3 life sentences with no possibility of parole How to Commit the Perfect Murder Murder weapon? Victim? Murder scene? Disposal Area? Motive? How Susie Commits the Perfect Murder "A moment later, the icicle fell. The heavy coldness of it threw him off balance just enough for him to stumble and pitch forward. It would be weeks before the snow in the ravine melted enough to uncover him" (Sebold 327). "I wish you all a long and happy life" (Sebold 328). Susie survives despite the social norm of deviant behaviour. - Susie is the victim of this behaviour
- She grows up and realizes the imperfection that is present on earth

"'I'm sort of cold, Mr. Harvey. And my mom likes me home before dark'" (Sebold 7). Susie takes the form of a ghost on earth, which does not parallel society's beliefs at this time, however, this social norm does not affect her determination to communicate. She realizes that no good will come of looking back on the past, and she learns to accept the present. Psychological Disorders Schizophrenia Occurs due to a chemical imbalance Sudden onset of psychotic symptoms Common in ages 17-30 Hallucinations Cannot express emotion Psychopathy Murderers are usually psychopaths
Lack emotion, empathy, remorse, or guilt
Predatory behaviours
Commit more serious crimes
1% of the population is psychopaths Bipolarity Extreme happiness to extreme depression
Affects men and women equally
Most common in ages 15-25
May be hereditary
Type I victims have manic episodes
Type II victims experience high energy levels Questions? If you were to die tomorrow, would you be satisfied with your life?
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