The Lovely Bones Prompt essay

Discuss the usage of unexpected details in descriptions of places, such as on page 40, as Suzie states, “The air in my heaven often smelled like skunk…”.  Present five such unexpected details and state why each is, indeed, unexpected.

The author uses a number of unexpected details. For instance, the narrator refers to her heaven as the one that often smelled like skunk. In such a way, the author uses simile comparing heaven to skunk that reveals the deep irony of the narrator about her heaven, which is not as perfect as people traditionally believe the heaven has to be.

Also, the author depicts the episode when Jack sees a flashlight in the cornfield expecting it is Harvey, who attempts to hide evidence of his crime, but it turns out to be Clarissa and Brian dating. The author reveals that cornfield is a place, where love and death come hand in hand together.

Furthermore, Lindsey finds the diagram of den in Harvey’s house but the latter returns unexpectedly. Thus, the author postpones the climax of the story since the crime has not been uncovered yet.

Abigail’s affair with Detective Fenerman is unexpected detail because Susie’s mother finds consolation in a love affair with a detective investigating her daughter’s murder.

Finally, another unexpected detail is the discovery of Susie’s remnant by a Norristown couple, which fails to understand the significance of their discovery. In such a way, the author shows that the crime remains undiscovered, while people often fail to understand evident things.


Traditionally a novel’s preface, its “entre act”, is used to set tone and introduce both language and imagery expectations. Consider the preface to this novel.  How effective is it? What expectations does it set?  Are those expectations met? How so? What were your initial reactions?

The preface to the novel is quite different from a conventional preface because it is narrated by a person, who is on her personal heaven. Such preface is quite puzzling and makes readers wondering about the further events unfolding in the story. In such a way, the preface prepares readers that the entire story develops in an unusual way and the book actually proves this assumption.

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