The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

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How would you describe George Harvey's appearance, looks, and personality in The Lovely Bones?

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laurniko eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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George Harvey is an unassuming person; he doesn't leave much of an impression on others. Most people aren't suspicious of him.

Susie says that Harvey wears small round glasses with gold frames. (Later, he switches to hard contacts that make his eyes red.) He's also quite tall—he has to stoop in his underground room while Susie can stand straight up. She says that her father describes people like him as "characters."

His impression on Susie is one of pity. He is a man without children or a wife and seems like someone who would eat frozen meals every night. (His wife, Leah, died sometime in the past.) He seems like someone very scared of rejection. However, once he blocks Susie's way to the door, she starts to feel scared of him and uncomfortable.

He builds dollhouses for specialty stores. He's clever enough to kill when the weather will wash away the evidence but isn't as meticulous when disposing of the bodies, which is why Susie's elbow is found. He had killed quite a few times—with long gaps between victims.

Susie's father does become suspicious of him because of his building activities, however. He also arouses suspicion in other people, but he is never officially caught. Rather, he dies in an accident.

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teachertaylor eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In The Lovely Bones, George Harvey is characterized as an odd man in terms of his personality, but on the outside he appears to be just a normal man.  Mr. Harvey is a quiet, unassuming neighbor who keeps to himself.  No one has anything really to say about him when the detectives go around during questioning.  But behind closed doors, Mr. Harvey exhibits the classic signs of a sociopath.  He is insanely orderly, and everything in his house has its place.  He is fascinated with building dollhouses and creating these microcosmic worlds that he can control.  It is also later revealed that Mr. Harvey keeps trophies from his many murders, another sign that Mr. Harvey craves control.  So, Mr. Harvey is a man who on the outside appears like just a quiet neighbor, but on the inside harbors serious mental problems.

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