illustration of Susie in the clouds with her charm bracelet above her head

The Lovely Bones

by Alice Sebold

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Summary and Analysis: Chapters 6–10

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Chapter 6: Summary Susie remembers Ray Singh almost kissing her as they were both backstage at the school; they are interrupted when teachers talk to Ruth Connors about improper art she's drawn (nude women).

Ruth goes walking in the cornfield where Susie was killed; she and Ray make a connection. Mr. Salmon goes to talk to the Singhs. Mrs. Singh's beauty and silence makes him uncomfortable. She tells him to make sure who killed his daughter, and then to kill the person.

Analysis This chapter shows an array of marvelous accidental connections. When Susie hides backstage, Ray Singh does not just flirt with her, or stare at her. Instead, he speaks what most teenage girls wish to hear: he tells her directly that she is beautiful. Likewise, Mrs. Ruana Singh tells Mr. Salmon what he wants and needs to hear: to kill his daughter's killer.

Chapter 7: Summary Buckley shows his friend Nate Susie's room, and says that he has seen her since her death—that Susie came into his room at night and kissed her on the cheek. As she watches this from heaven, Susie remembers playing under the framed grave rubbings hanging in their home; their parents had learned to do grave rubbings on their honeymoon.

Analysis This brief chapter sums up a number of symbolic and emotionally intense connections and insights—and how people are trapped and limited. Even in death, able to move through space and time at will, Susie can't tell whether her beloved little brother really saw her. As she watches him with a friend, Susie remembers the grave rubbing and the story of the knight, who is trapped in time. Finally, she remembers that her grandmother predicted a long life for Susie because she saved Buckley's life. All of these are instances where people are wrong, or where their experience stretches beyond their understanding.

Chapter 8: Summary Mr. Harvey dreams of buildings. Susie watches his dreams, and peers back in his memory, all the way back to when he was a baby in his mother's arms. She watches him remember when Mr. Harvey's father forced his mother out of the car, and out of their lives.

Analysis This brief chapter explains a lot about Mr. Harvey. He dreams about buildings. Mr. Harvey does this in part because his father was a builder and he is dreaming of being like his father. However, buildings also often symbolize the psyche (the mind with all its levels), and Mr. Harvey dreams of them because his psyche is so damaged.

Chapter 9: Summary Grandma Lynn, Mrs. Salmon's mother, comes to help out during the funeral. She helps her daughter Abigail, and teaches Lindsey about makeup. Susie remembers Mrs. Bethel Uttermeyer, the only dead person she and Lindsey had seen before Susie died. Grandma Lynn helps Lindsey dress for the funeral, taking an outfit from Susie's closet that looks good on Lindsey. Samuel Heckler, Samuel's older brother Hal, and Ruth Connor all attend the memorial service, as does Clarissa. (Clarissa had loaned Susie the outfit that Lindsey wore to the funeral.) Ray Singh did not attend, but Len Fenerman did, and so did Mr. Harvey.

Analysis A funeral is a symbolic demarcation, a time when the community lets go of the deceased and, ideally, the dead person moves on. This funeral also marks other things specific to this family. Both the police and Susie's killer attend the funeral, marking it as unfinished and unnatural. Grandma Lynn helping Lindsey with makeup also marks Lindsey's transition into a new world: adult femininity.

Chapter 10: Summary While at the statewide summer symposium for...

(This entire section contains 736 words.)

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the gifted, Ruth Connors and Lindsey Salmon have a bit more contact; when Ruth dreams about Susie, she shares it with Lindsey, who in turn admits how much she misses her sister. Lindsey and Samuel become a serious couple there, spending a lot of time kissing and eventually having sex. Susie watches them.

There is a competition at every gifted symposium. This one is how to commit a perfect murder.

Analysis This chapter is all about unexpected connections, all of which are created or exposed through Susie's death. Ruth and Lindsey connect at camp over how much they miss Susie. Lindsey and Samuel became a couple in the wake of Susie's death. The competition theme directly relates to Susie's death because it seems to be the world in which they're all living, in which a perfect murder's been created.


Summary and Analysis: Preface, Chapters 1–5


Summary and Analysis: Chapters 11–16