Because symbolism plays such an important role in The Lovely Bones, a novel written by Alice Sebold, it is a relatively easy to create an essay question about that literary element. One question I often ask students who read the novel in my class is, "What do the "lovely bones" represent? How are they symbolic?" I also ask students to "Explain how Susie's charm bracelet is a symbol. What does it represent and why?"
If you prefer a question that is more open to interpretation, you might ask, "How might Susie have reacted differently to Mr. Harvey if the story had taken place today? Why?" Prior to reading the novel, we discuss general societal differences between today and the early seventies, especially as it relates to violence.