Did Susie Salmon Really Die?

The 2002 novel “The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold tells the story of a young girl named Susie Salmon who is raped and murdered by her neighbor, George Harvey. The novel is narrated by Susie from heaven as she watches over her family and friends who are left behind after her death.

But the question remains:

did Susie really die Some readers have speculated that perhaps Susie’s death was just a metaphorical representation of her journey into adulthood or a commentary on the fragility of life.

However, it is clear within the context of the novel that Susie did indeed die. Her body was found in a cornfield, and her family mourned her passing. The novel deals with the aftermath of her death and how it affects those around her.

Throughout the novel, Sebold uses various stylistic elements to enhance the reader’s understanding of Susie’s story. For example, she use to separate different parts of the book into chapters and sections. These help to organize the story and make it easier for readers to follow along.

Sebold also utilizes bold and underlined text to emphasize certain words or phrases that are important to understanding the narrative. For instance, when describing Susie’s murder, Sebold writes:

“Mr. Harvey had turned around and was walking toward me. I saw his face clearly for an instant. Then he hit me in the head with a hammer.”

The use of bold text on “hit me in the head with a hammer” highlights just how violent and traumatic this event was for Susie.

Furthermore, Sebold employs lists throughout the book to convey information in a concise and easy-to-read format. For example, when describing some of the other girls who have gone missing in Susie’s town, Sebold writes:

“Lindsey Salmon (my sister) went through a phase where she wouldn’t walk anywhere alone. Samuel Heckler, a boy from my class, was found in an empty lot three blocks from his house. Holly Grogan disappeared while walking home from a friend’s house.”

The use of lists here helps to quickly convey the information about the missing children without bogging down the narrative with too much detail.


while some readers may have speculated that Susie’s death was not real, it is clear within the context of “The Lovely Bones” that she did indeed die. The novel’s use of stylistic elements such as sub headers, bold and underlined text, and lists enhances the reader’s understanding of Susie’s story and makes it a truly engaging read.

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Lindsay Collins