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Free Online Notes for The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold-Study Guide
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The rising action begins with the scene of Susie’s murder and ends just before she falls to earth and enters Ruth’s body. In between are the eight years the Salmons endure the burden of grief. We see such things as the pain Lindsey feels when the Gifted Symposium uses the Perfect Murder as their culminating project; the time that Mr. Salmon thinks he’s trapped George Harvey in the cornfield and is beaten himself; the first Christmas after Susie’s death when Lindsey receives the broken heart pendant from Samuel; the exploration of George Harvey’s house where Lindsey finds the sketch of the cornfield; Jack Salmon’s heart attack and near death; Abigail’s return home; Samuel and Lindsey finding the old house and becoming engaged; and Susie falling into Ruth’s body so she can have her heart’s desire fulfilled by the Grace of Heaven.

There is really no suspense in the rising action except when Lindsey goes into George Harvey’s house, but it is a culmination of wonderful and also awful moments in the lives of a family who has suffered greatly and deserves peace.


The falling action first involves the wonderful experience between Ray and Susie through the miracle of her entrance into Ruth’s body. It is very uplifting, because it shows how love triumphs in the end. The falling action also involves the aftermath for all of the Salmons and their friends: Jack and Abigail resolve their marriage; Lindsey and Samuel are married and have a little girl; Buckley becomes a fine young man who will come to forgive his mother; Ruth continues what makes her happiest - using her sight to help the dead and the living; Ray becomes a doctor and never forgets the possibilities of Heaven; and Susie lets go of Earth and faces her eternity. She leaves us with her final blessing, “I wish you all a long and happy life.” The reader then can close the book with the sense that he/she has just learned something wonderful and dear.


The entire point of view is first person. Susie relates everything that happens to every character, including their thoughts as well as their deeds. She is an omniscient character in that she can see and know everything about those who love her, even their past. It’s only when she chooses not to know that her omniscience disappears.

Since everything is filtered through Susie, it might seem as if the reader is denied access to the reality each character might present if he could speak for himself. However, this point of view still allows us to know what the characters are thinking and feeling and we get a wonderful sketch of each one. This may be due to the fact that Susie loves them all or is bound to them all in some enduring way.


This book fits within several genres. While in the basic genre of fiction. It can also be described as a Supernatural Thriller. Additionally, the novel can be considered a Bildungsroman (coming-of-age story). Susie manages to mature despite her death cut so short. The changes in Susie during the course of the story, both in her perspective and voice are subtle, but it depicts the elements of a classic Bildungsroman, though not in the traditional way.

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Free Study Guide-The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold-Book Summary


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