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The Lovely Bones | Symbols


Snow Globe

The snow globe on Susie's father's desk is simultaneously a symbol of peaceful security, the fragility of life, and loneliness. Inside the globe, all is peaceful and calm, but the globe could easily break. The snow swirling around looks beautiful, but winter can be a bleak season. The penguin is safe and protected, but he's all by himself inside the globe.

Mr. Salmon enjoys the snow globe, and his hobby is making ships in bottles, revealing that he prefers calm, protected settings. To him, Susie is in a snow globe, safe and protected, but when she dies, his world is shattered. He realizes he was not able to protect her at all.

In addition, in much of the novel Susie's parents are frozen in time when Susie is murdered. They have difficulty moving forward as a family unit after Susie's death. Susie's parents look like two people frozen in ice when Fenerman returns the keystone charm. When he tells them that a charm from Susie's charm bracelet was found in a grave near Connecticut, Susie's parents seem trapped in time and shock for a moment, "like animals trapped in ice—their eyes frozen open and beseeching whoever walked above them to release them now."

It is only at the end when Mr. Salmon learns of Lindsey's pregnancy that he is able to envision "that one day he might teach another child to love ships in bottles."

Charm Bracelet

Susie's mother gave her the charm bracelet. In one sense, then, the bracelet is a symbol of mother–daughter love. When it's wrenched off and lost, the bracelet represents the loss of that love.

In addition, each of the charms represents Susie in some way, but her favorite is the bicycle, which stands for escape and solitude. Also, there's the phrase "charmed life," meaning a life that seems to be protected or kept safe by outside forces. While the bracelet is on Susie's arm, she does seem to lead a charmed life, but that life is about to end.

Len Fenerman returns the Pennsylvania keystone charm to Mr. Salmon, which had been a gift from Mr. Salmon to Susie. This return of the charm that Mr. Harvey stole symbolically represents the return of Susie, who was also a victim of Mr. Harvey's thievery.

In the last scene of the book, a man finds the lost charm bracelet and brings it home to his wife: "This little girl's grown up by now," she says. In a way, she's right; Susie has matured in heaven. In another way, she's poignantly wrong. On Earth, Susie will never get to grow up.

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