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

The Lovely Bones

by Alice Sebold

Start Free Trial

In The Lovely Bones, where was Susie's body hidden?

Quick answer:

In The Lovely Bones, Susie's body is hidden in a sinkhole. After being murdered by Mr. Harvey, her body is dismembered and placed in a safe, which is then disposed of in the sinkhole. This location makes it nearly impossible for her body to be retrieved. Although Susie's elbow bone is found in a field, the rest of her remains are concealed in the sinkhole, which is later scheduled to be filled with concrete.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In chapter 1 of The Lovely Bones, George Harvey tells Susie “I’ve made a little hiding place”, prompting her to join him in a trap that he has set for her. He then tells her “You aren’t leaving, Susie. You’re mine now.” He proceeds to sexually assault Susie and kill her. After doing so, Susie’s body is dismembered by her killer. The pieces of Susie’s body are stuffed into a sack, although the violent crime results in a stain on Mr. Harvey’s floor. The body is eventually transported and thrown into a sinkhole.

In chapter 4, Susie gives us a vivid description of how the murderer treated her corpse:

He had put me in a waxy cloth sack and thrown in the shaving cream and razor from the mud ledge, his book of sonnets, and finally the bloody knife tumbled together with my knees, fingers, and toes. They were tumbled together with my knees, fingers, and toes, but he made a note to extract them before my blood grew too sticky later that night.

While her body has experienced this trauma, her spirit is taken away to heaven, where she tells the rest of her story.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

After Mr. Harvey rapes and kills Susie, he cuts up her body, places the pieces in garbage bags, and places them in a safe. Once he's ready, he takes the safe to an area where you can pay to put garbage in a sinkhole in town. He pays the fee and the safe goes into the sinkhole. The nature of this location makes it almost impossible for anyone to get the safe or find Susie's body.

Only Susie's elbow bone is found in the field. When the police dig into the earth and analyze the area where Susie was killed, they find that a lot of blood soaked into the ground.

No one ever finds the rest of Susie's body, though when Ruth and Ray visit the sinkhole much later, Ruth wonders whether Susie's body was left in it. Near the end of the story, a developer plans to fill the sinkhole with concrete, which is what causes Ruth to decide to visit it.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Susie's body was cut into pieces and put into a garbage bag, then taken to the murderer's house, where it left a stain on the floor.  The murderer then placed Susie's body in a metal safe, locked it, and paid a small fee to discard it in a sinkhole outside of town.  The sinkhole was used as a kind of landfill, since objects that were discarded there were basically irretrievable.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In The Lovely Bones, where does Susie live?

Susie narrates her tale from Heaven; she was killed and left buried in a frozen field.  If you mean the actual state where she lived when she was alive, I don't believe Sebold ever says exactly.  It is a suburban community with cold winters, so a good guess might be New York, from whence Sebold hales, or somewhere New England-y. 

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Last Updated on