The Lovely Bones Questions and Answers
by Alice Sebold

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How do Jack and Abigail question their parenthood after Susie is killed in The Lovely Bones?   Support with examples and quotes.

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This is an excellent question!  Sebold deals with these two characters in totally different ways, in my opinion a genius stroke of word choice, directly reflecting the characters thoughts themselves.  Let's deal with them separately:  Abigail and then Jack.

Abigail deals with Susie's death by completely withdrawing from family life (first through washing the dishes, later by having an affair, and finally through flight).  It is through Abigail's characterization that I first noticed the genius of Sebold's writing.  Abigail reveals nothing through words or thoughts, only through actions.  As a result, as a reader, I was continually struggling to understand her position and her thought process.  Ah, that's as it should be:  Abigail withdraws from family, reader withdraws from Abigail as a result of diction .  In fact, although her actions reveal Abigail questioning her parenting (with her flight from the family to the other side of the country being the...

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