"The Lovely Bones" Analytical Essay by littlemonsterus

"The Lovely Bones"
Examines the theme of houses in Alice Sebold's cult text, "The Lovely Bones".
# 25978 | 1,784 words | 1 source | 2002 | US
Published on May 04, 2003 in Literature (American) , Psychology (Social) , English (Analysis) , Women Studies (Culture)

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"The Lovely Bones", by Alice Sebold, is an example of a cult text that finds itself driven into popular culture by its word of mouth circulation. Its symptomatic imagery, encompassing middle-class American life, sends it into the category of American iconic text. The paper shows that the text's most powerful symbol is the house, the home, that which itself is a symbol of American prosperity, attainment, and ideal living. It shows that the house is the heart of "The Lovely Bones" subtext, other metaphors of life drawing from this grounded point. The paper examines how the house also works as a motif within the text, the place where the characters live, where they feel out their grief, individually try to reconstruct, as well as where murders are plotted and bones counted. The house serves as subject to those who dwell within.

From the Paper:

"The sudden popularity of Lovely Bones comes from its symptomatic appeal to American values, desires, and anxieties found within the ideas of family, home, and community. The doubling of house based scenes joins the positive and negative images of theses ideas. The reader may then respond to and identify these separated feelings about the places in which they live. These anxieties are felt out through the subversion of home, seen through the psyche of George Harvey, along with the styling of house through contemporary gothic imagery. Kitchen, living room, bathroom, bedrooms, basement are all subject to the uses put to them by the occupant(s). The Salmon's home is warm, busy, juxtaposed to Mr. Harvey's house which is described as cold and still. The eerie feelings, which are derived from the images of Mr. Harvey's house, are created through these comparisons and the cool in which these details are given."

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