Lynn is characterised by Sebold through her excessive vanity, obsessed with the idea of beauty she does not reply to Abigail’s comment regarding her looks and immediately jumps into conversation regarding Jack and his suspicions. Later in this scene she then pressurises Abigail into letting her “do a makeover”, and when Lindsey asks Lynn to teach her about makeup, Sebold shows Lynn to be rejoiced about this by saying “My God in heaven, praise the Lord, yes!”. The use of exclamatives emphasises her vanity, as the reader can see her excitement in being able to teach her granddaughter about makeup. This also shows the reader the relationship she has with her family – her daughter is reluctant to let her get anywhere near her with “those instruments of torture”, which indicates that it may have happened to her previously with disastrous consequences, however her granddaughter is willing to do undergo this, to encourage Lindsey’s transformation from a teenager into a woman. This is reiterated when Lynn helps Susie find an outfit, where Lynn attempts to find Susie a “nice outfit” from her wardrobe. The idea of looks and appearance begins to rub off on Lindsey, who says that she “needs to look pretty”, an ideology closely followed by Lynn.
Sebold also shows Lynn to be a frequent drinker, with her dependence on alcohol shown throughout the novel. As soon as she is introduced she is shown to drink excessively as she says “no one has to tell me where the liquor is!” The use of exclamatives in this sentence emphasises the idea that she has visited the Salmon family before, and that she drank excessively then. This can be seen as an ‘inside joke’ between the family. However, Sebold emphasises the point that she is dependent when she says to Jack “we need some stiff drinks”. The pronoun “we” is used to draw the attention away from herself, to make it look like she isn’t the only one who wants a drink. Lynn’s lexical choices also enhance her alcoholism, as Sebold uses the adjective “stiff” to describe how she wants the drinks to be strong, to help cope with the memorial.
Sebold portrays Lynn as a very dominant character through the relationships she has with her family. When talking to others she controls the conversation through the use of interrogatives and through this is able to bring up sensitive areas with the family. She asks Abigail “how is he?” when Jack has left the room, and when he returns quickly drops conversation with “but…”. This ellipsis shows the reader how, although dominative, she is also sensitive to her family and does not want to upset anybody. This is shown again in the other extract where Lynn tells Lindsey “You are pretty”, which shocks both Lindsey and Susie as Lynn rarely gives out compliments.
Lynn is shown to be a very caring member of the family, despite being somewhat flawed, and the way that she impacts upon the family after she has arrived shows that she plays a key role in the novel. Through her use of colloquial language, Sebold shows us that she is able to change the atmosphere of each scene, from humorous to very serious, and the varied sentence structures that Sebold uses portrays Lynn’s views and opinions, and structures her character.
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106 to 108