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The Lovely Bones

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Introduction

Personal Study- "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold Task : An analysis of the use of narrative voice in "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold to show the extent to which it manipulates our response to other characters. "The lovely bones" by Alice Sebold is a novel about growing older and wiser and dealing with loss. It concerns an adolescent girl who is raped and murdered and has to watch her family get over her death while she is trapped in heaven. The unusual narrative voice in "The Lovely Bones" manipulates our response to Mr and Mrs Salmon and is crucial to our understanding of the characters. I intend to show at what extent this unusual narrative voice manipulates our response to central characters and the other techniques Sebold employs to do this. In the weeks following her death, Susie watches Earth and how it continues without her. Even though Susie is dead, she manages to grow up while in heaven as her tone and perspective as a narrator changes throughout. ...read more.

Middle

When Susie's mother leaves the family, the use of Susie as the narrator is vital to keep the story focusing on both Abigail and the rest of the family. This manipulates the reader into starting to dislike Abigail for splitting up an already damaged family and leaving her children behind. Throughout the novel we see Susie seeing her mother in a different way to before, " she was at that point not my mother but something I found frightening...[her eyes] were bottomless in a way that I found frightening." Through the use of narrative voice, Sebold allows us to become aware of Susie's feelings about her mother helping us make our own personal opinions of her and deciding on the reasons for her leaving. In contrast to Mrs Salmon, Mr Salmon is not disliked by the reader at any one point in this novel. At the beginning he is caring towards his daughter, giving her advice and sharing his knowledge with her. ...read more.

Conclusion

By using an omniscient narrator, Sebold opens up the whole plot as Susie can witness all events, including events that other characters often do not notice. This allows the story to focus on any character at any moment and on events where there is no character. This also makes Susie very reliable as she is not involved in the action taking place on Earth, she merely sees it take places and narrates it to us. She also offers judgments and opinions on the behavior of the people she has left behind her and how they have changed, allowing us too to make opinions and see the characters for their true selves after the loss of Susie. In conclusion, Alice Sebold's effective use of an unusual narrative voice in "the Lovely Bones" results in an the manipulation of the reader into making opinions and judgements of central characters, including Mr and Mrs Salmon. By using an omniscient narrator, the story is opened up allowing us to follow the action as it takes place in different parts of America when Abigail moves away. ...read more.

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