The Lovely Bones | Study Guide

Alice Sebold

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The Lovely Bones | Prologue | Summary


Alice Sebold structures The Lovely Bones in 23 chapters with the addition of a prologue and an epilogue entitled "Bones." There is one section called "Snapshots," which appears between Chapter 16 and Chapter 17. This special section recalls Susie's habit of picture-taking during her life and serves to move the narrative forward in time over a period of years.


Susie Salmon, the narrator, draws attention to a snow globe on the desk of her father, Mr. Jack Salmon. The snow globe houses a single penguin. Susie recalls that she once confessed to her father that she worried about the penguin's loneliness. Her father dismissed the worry, saying that the penguin has a nice life in a perfect world.


The snow globe reflects the suburban setting of the novel. The inhabitants believe that suburbia is a kind of perfect world in which to raise their families. They are protected from the crime, racial tensions, and deteriorating conditions of the cities. However, the novel soon illustrates the fallacy of this belief. Suburbia is not a perfect world; there is danger living nearby.

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