The Lovely Bones Study Guide Essay

3672 Words Aug 17th, 2006 15 Pages
Plot summary
The novel begins with an anecdote, used as an epigraph, in which Susie recalls her father amusing her as a child by shaking a snow globe with a small penguin inside all by himself. When she worries about the penguin, he says, "Don't worry, Susie. He's got a nice life. He's trapped inside a perfect world."
In the opening sentences, Susie introduces herself to us and takes us to the date of her death, December 6, 1973, "before kids of all races and genders started appearing on milk cartons and in the daily mail ... when people believed things like that didn't happen."
At dusk, with a light snow falling, she takes a shortcut back home across a small cornfield from her junior high school to her home in Norristown, Pennsylvania,
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Lindsey, along with Ruth, attends a summer camp for the gifted and talented, where she loses her virginity to Samuel Heckler, a classmate who had brought her a Christmas gift after her sister's death. Buckley, the youngest child in the family at five, tries to make sense of all this as he starts school.
Back in heaven, Susie realizes that her heaven is only a stop on the way to a larger, more permanent heaven, and asks Franny what she has to do to get there. "You have to stop desiring certain answers," she answers. "Simply put, you have to give up on Earth." Susie admits she is as yet unable to do this.
One day late in the summer Detective Len Fenerman comes to tell the Salmons that the police have exhausted all leads and are dropping the investigation. That night, in his study, Jack looks out the window and sees a flashlight in the cornfield. Believing it to be Harvey returning to destroy evidence, he runs out to confront him with a baseball bat. It turns out to be Susie's best friend, Clarissa, and her boyfriend Brian looking for a place to make out. Brian and Jack struggle for a while before this straightens itself out, and Jack is struck with the bat and has to have knee replacement surgery.
In the wake of this, his wife Abigail, whose pregnancy with Susie had forced their marriage and the cancellation of her plans to go study in France, begins having an affair with Fenerman, a widower.
Amidst all this, Abigail's mother, Grandma Lynn,

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