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Death in The Lovely Bones and Sharp Objects

            When death occurs, people react and vent their grief in different ways. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold and Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn both demonstrate the many variants of these reactions – such as focusing solely on the death and dissecting it or pushing it to one side and acting as if it never happened. Although both stories involve murder, the means by which the murders occur are completely different – though they do result in similar consequences. Both books have been published within the last ten years and so, follow the same recognizable current reactions in society today They demonstrate the grief that is felt and the publicity violent death is given – this is especially highlighted in Sharp Objects: two deaths occur in a remote town and somehow the media are able to find out about it hundreds of miles away. We also are privy to similar euphemisms that are used to describe death in today's society such as 'Gone to a better place' and 'Passed away'. Sebold breaks the news to the parents that Susie is dead by having the police mention that there was too much blood for her to have survived. This interesting euphemism softens the sharp realization that Jack and Abigail's daughter is gone forever.
             The Lovely Bones and Sharp Objects both demonstrate that after death, the traditionally parental role of caring is passed over to the siblings. Camille steps in from her mother's neglect and looks after her half-sister, Amma in Sharp Objects and Buckley takes care of his dad in The Lovely Bones – 'He nodded and kissed my father's cheekthe care a child took with an adult'. The kiss that Buckley gives his father can be seen as a symbol of reassurance; Buckley making sure that his father knows that he is there for him. Additionally, the role reversal can be seen as an advantage due to the fact that both mothers in the books are detached from their families throughout and this is developed as the stories go on – almost as if they are in their own worlds.

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