The Lovely Bones – Chapter Two

Chapter two is one to note as this is where Susie describes her heaven. In The Lovely Bones, heaven is what each person dreams it is. The first thing that Susie sees in heaven is her high school and people playing sports. After a few days in heaven Susie realises that all the people she sees are all in their own version of heaven and theirs just fits with hers. Susie gets a roommate Holly and heaven expands as their relationship grows. A counsellor, Franny, is also there to offer her help to those adjusting to death, but the dead one can still see her family and watch events on Earth as well. Franny is the same age as their mothers which is important because both girls want their mothers. She tells them that she is there to help them and if there is something they want and understand why they want it, it will come. What Susie realises is that she wants what she had not had on Earth. Susie wants to be allowed to grow up. She also knows that she cannot have what she really wants – Mr. Harvey dead and her alive. But she thinks if she watches closely and wants it enough, she can change the lives of those she loved on Earth. Sebold is implying that Susie’s adjustment to death will be a difficult one. It is also interesting to note that Susie puts the word Earth in capitals whenever she talks about it but heaven is always lowercase. This shows where her heart really lies.

Susie’s parents hopes come to an end when Detective Len Fenerman tells them have found a body part, Susie’s elbow. When her father says that they can’t be certain Susie’s dead, Detective Fenerman responds with something that the family cling on to for awhile – nothing is ever certain. The family’s mantra, “Nothing is ever certain,” is a reflection of the first step of the process of grief: shock and denial. The reality of Susie’s death hasn’t really hit home yet. The family is stunned and bewildered. Susie sees that her parents have a difficult time knowing how to help each other because they had never both been in distress at the same time before. One had always been there to support the other and they had never known the true meaning of horror – until now. The next day, Susie’s father tells Lindsay about the body part and she is sick.

The police find Susie’s blood soaked into the ground where the hiding place had been, but they cannot find the rest of her body. They also find her copy of To Kill a Mockingbird, the essay she had written on Othello, her class notes and a letter from Ray Singh, who calls himself the Moor, after Othello. Ray becomes a suspect, but he has an alibi. Later, the police find Susie’s hat and when Detective tells Susie’s family that they have to believe that she has been killed. Her mother is grief-stricken, but her father waits until he can put his face into the fur of their dog, Holiday before he begins to sob. Lindsey, deals with her grief by hardening herself and she won’t let herself cry. At home, she keeps the grief away by doing exercises until she is exhausted. It’s important to note that the family members react in different ways to Susie’s death. It is when Detective Fenerman brings home the hat and tells them about the body part, that they enter the second step of the grief process – anger. That is why her mother wails and her father sobs and Lindsey toughens herself so she won’t break. Even Buckley, who is only four and doesn’t really understand what gone means, draws a picture in which a thick blue line separates the air from the ground. This is what Susie will call the Inbetween. Susie watches the family walk past the picture and wants the picture to be a real place. She wants to be there, because she, too, needs an escape from the reality of her own death.

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