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Susie's Afterlife Essay - The Lovely Bones How does Sebold use representations of speech and other literary techniques to portray Susies feelings about her afterlife in the following extract (Chapter 2, Pages 19-20) and in one other extract in the nov

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Introduction

How does Sebold use representations of speech and other literary techniques to portray Susie's feelings about her afterlife in the following extract (Chapter 2, Pages 19-20) and in one other extract in the novel? For most of the novel, Susie's heaven is, for her, simply a place from which she can observe her family on Earth. The casual tone Sebold uses as Susie describes the contents of her heaven and the simple dreams she has ("an ice cream shop...a newspaper where our pictures appeared a lot") show the reader that however miraculous this image of heaven is, Susie still has a strong link binding her to her "split-level on Earth" - "an echo of sameness riding up over the hill". Her strongest desire is one of the only things her heaven cannot provide, as shown by the simple declarative "I wanted to be allowed to grow up", although the use of the past tense foreshadows a change in Susie's attitude towards her afterlife later in the novel. ...read more.

Middle

Sebold capitalises the concrete noun "Earth" while "heaven" is always in lowercase; this indicates where Susie's heart lies and how she sees the Earth almost as a living being, like her family. The pairing of the simple interrogatives "Was it my father? Was it what I had wanted all this time so desperately?" reflects the fast pace of Susie's thoughts and her desperation to be with her family. This is highlighted strongly by the adverb "desperately". Susie's use of the proper noun "Grandaddy" in Chapter 18 again represents her innocence and youth, despite being in heaven, but the simplicity of this single unit of speech also reflects the simplicity of this episode and Susie's simple desire to be with her family again. The simple lexical choices and sentence structure in this episode, such as in the simple declarative "You're so close" and interrogative "Do you remember?" reflect the familiarity and ease between Susie and her grandfather; there is no need for complex language to show off or pretend to be someone they're not. ...read more.

Conclusion

The interrogative that she does ask, the adverb "Where?" is clearly not reflecting any desperation of Susie's for answers; she is content to be in the moment. The reader is alerted to "a shifting" - a change "happening on Earth and in heaven". The use of asyndetic listing ("Seismic, impossible, a rending and tearing of time and space") shows that Susie does not understand what is happening, but the adjectives "seismic" and "impossible" again sound other-worldly, and the reader is reminded of the strangeness of this episode, as well as being examples of Sebold's use of magical realism. Both Chapter 2 and Chapter 18 show that Susie shows no fear of death or the afterlife, which is again simple and childlike. She accepts the situation easily, her connection to Earth and her family being too strong. The main feelings which Sebold makes the reader aware of are Susie's desperation to be with her family and regret at Mr. Harvey's continued existence on Earth, which don't allow her to fully realise the depth and mysticism of her heaven until later in the novel. ?? ?? ?? ?? Amy Ainsworth ...read more.

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