Dealing with Grief in the Lovely Bones

1819 Words Apr 15th, 2008 8 Pages
The characters in Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones are faced with the difficult task of overcoming the loss of Susie, their daughter and sister. Jack, Abigail, Buckley, and Lindsey each deal with the loss differently. However, it is Susie who has the most difficulty accepting the loss of her own life. Several psychologists separate the grieving process into two main categories: intuitive and instrumental grievers. Intuitive grievers communicate their emotional distress and “experience, express, and adapt to grief on a very affective level” (Doka, par. 27). Instrumental grievers focus their attention towards an activity, whether it is into work or into a hobby, usually relating to the loss (Doka par. 28). Although each character deals with …show more content…
She only goes through the motions at work and does not develop emotionally while away. It is when she arrives back with her family that Abigail finally begins to grieve and connect with her family again. Although Abigail’s actions affect each family member, Buckley is the only one reluctant to accept her back into their family so quickly. Buckley’s resistance causes Abigail to realize everything she had missed. Despite Buckley’s young age when Susie first disappeared, his life is greatly affected by the loss. He is extremely angry and resentful towards his parents. Buckley feels that his relationship with his father is shadowed by his inability to move past the loss of Susie. The tension between them peaks when Jack tells Buckley he cannot use Susie’s old clothes in his garden, but it is not simply about the garden. The garden is symbolic of new life and growth in the future and Susie’s shirts symbolize her existence. Although Susie’s clothes would no longer be intact, they would become part of the garden, just as Susie will always be part of the family even though she is no longer with them. This scene is also important for Jack and Buckley’s relationship because Buckley finally tells his father how isolated he feels. Abigail and Buckley’s relationship, on the other hand, is not so easily patched. Buckley is bitter that his mother missed so many important events in his life. The
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