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The Lovely Bones

by Alice Sebold

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In The Lovely Bones, what is George Harvey thinking and why might he pursue those actions?

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In Alice Sebold’s novel The Lovely Bones, the character George Harvey is the antagonist in the story. He is a 36-year-old sexual predator, a serial killer, and a rapist. He has raped and murdered Susie Salmon not far from her home. It is difficult to say for certain what George would be thinking because the psychology of a criminal and a pedophile is a complicated one. However, Susie gives information on George’s past that may help the reader understand what might have shaped him into the person he became. His mother taught him to shoplift and commit petty crimes at a young age and his father wasn’t typical but taught him how to build things. The family was always on the move, so young George had little security. George missed having a steady and safe home life, and this can be seen in his job of building dollhouses. Therefore, his actions of building and killing women come in part from his unhappy childhood and his lack of control over his own world.

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