What symbolism can you find to support the themes of loss and grief?list as many as you can and why.

Expert Answers
lynnebh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The “lovely bones” themselves are a symbol. At the end of the novel, Susie says that the bones were the “connections” that “had grown around my absence.” They represent her friends and family, the new relationships that have developed among her friends after her death, the healing that has resulted in making some of the characters stronger.

The dollhouses that Harvey builds – a symbol of innocence, yet in his case, they represent his pedophilia.

The icicles that kill Harvey – symbolic of the cold nature of his killings

The picture of Susie’s mother that shows her as Abigail, not just Mrs. Salmon – this symbolizes that Abigail once had a life as an independent woman, apart from her husband and family, and perhaps in some way explains why she deserts her family to reconnect with her true self

Jack’s collection of ships in a bottle – They symbolize his relationship with Susie. When Jack smashes his collection out of grief, he destroys his connection to Susie because they used to build the ships together. The ships remind him of his grief. After this, Susie reveals herself to him to remind him that his connection to her really cannot be destroyed.

Susie’s charm bracelet – Harvey removes the Pennsylvania “keystone” charm– later, this charm bracelet will be a type of “keystone” to indicate Harvey’s guilt when the charm bracelet is uncovered.

Lindsey and Samuel symbolize for Suzy that sex can be loving, not violent and perverted.

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The Lovely Bones

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