The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones Chapter 14 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Lindsey cases George Harvey’s house for a week. She has been training with the junior high boys’ soccer team in hopes of qualifying for the all-male high school soccer team. The soccer field provides a view of Mr. Harvey’s house, and as Lindsey runs laps alongside Samuel and the rest of the team, she watches him. He notices her watching him, frustrated that after almost a year, the Salmons still “remain bent on crowding him.” It has happened before, in other towns—the family of a girl he has killed suspects him, even when no one else does.
There is a silent antagonism between Lindsey and Mr. Harvey. Each knows what the other is up to, but because maintaining a veneer of innocence, anonymity, and civility is very important for both of them, it is a cold war being waged between them as Lindsey plots against Harvey and Harvey anxiously wonders what exactly she is planning, and how he can protect himself.
Themes
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
On November 26th, Lindsey watches from the soccer field as Mr. Harvey leaves his house. She hangs back from the rest of the boys and sits at the tree line, planning on claiming to have gotten her period if she is called out. She slips away through the trees and heads for Mr. Harvey’s house, and calculates that she has about forty-five minutes to plunder through his home, knowing that he runs errands every afternoon. She punches in his basement window, using her sweatshirt as cushioning, and then drops herself through.
Lindsey puts her plan in motion, knowing exactly how she will cover her tracks every step of the way. She has limited time, but knows that it is now or never—she is her family’s last chance in securing any workable evidence against Harvey before time, and interest in Susie’s case, run out.
Themes
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Lindsey looks around the basement, finding it neat and orderly, with nothing particularly odd sticking out. Susie wishes she could guide her sister to the crawlspace beneath it, where the bones of the dead animals lie, but she cannot. Still, Lindsey senses a dark energy in the basement, which sets her on edge. She leaves the basement and enters the first floor, surprised by how empty Harvey’s house is. As she navigates through, she is struck by how the layout is exactly the same as her own house, and memories of her and Susie’s childhood flood back to her.
The tension in this scene is deeply palpable, as Lindsey knows something is off but does not understand quite what, and Susie longs to be able to show her sister all that she knows by virtue of her omniscience. There is something deeply uncanny about the house, and it is not just the air of malevolence—Lindsey sees her and Susie’s own childhood reflected in its layout, and this is nearly too much for her to bear.
Themes
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
As Lindsey moves through the house, Susie lists the names of the girls and women Harvey has murdered. Jackie Meyer, Delaware, 1967: thirteen years old. Flora Hernandez, Delaware, 1963: eight. Sophie Cichetti, Pennsylvania, 1960: forty-nine. Leidia Johnson, 1960: six years old, his youngest victim. Many more victims flood Susie’s senses, but she knows she must focus on Lindsey, and so she does.
Harvey himself has forgotten the names of most of his victims, but Susie proudly lists them in an act of defiance, and as a means of keeping their identities and legacies alive. Susie, so afraid of being forgotten, knows it is her duty not to forget the other women Harvey has harmed.
Themes
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
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Lindsey heads upstairs and into George Harvey’s room. She sees a sketchbook on the bedside table, and hears the sound of a car pulling up the driveway, braking, and the driver’s-side door opening and slamming shut. Lindsey flips through the pages of the notebook, finding a drawing of the structure in the cornfield in which Susie was murdered. She rips out the page. Downstairs, the oblivious Mr. Harvey is making a sandwich when he hears a board creak.
Lindsey has hit the jackpot—she has found a major piece of evidence that directly reveals Harvey’s intimate knowledge of the structure in which Susie was killed, and could be enough to convince the police of his guilt. It seems that at last justice is in reach, though of course Harvey’s presence in the house undercuts this moment with fear and suspense.
Themes
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Upstairs, Lindsey opens Harvey’s bedroom window and goes through it. Mr. Harvey arrives upstairs just as Lindsey jumps—she lands on the ground, winded but unhurt. As Mr. Harvey reaches the window, he sees Lindsey Salmon running away, and her number—5—on the back of her soccer shirt.
Lindsey has escaped with the evidence—and with her life—but Harvey has seen her. He knows what she has taken, knows what she plans to do with it, and, as Harvey is a very dangerous man, this marks Lindsey as a potential target.
Themes
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
When Lindsey walks in the front door of her own home Jack, Abigail, Grandma Lynn, and Samuel are sitting together, worried sick that she has come home late. Lindsey breathlessly tells Jack that she has broken into Mr. Harvey’s house. She hands him the drawing, and as Jack studies it, Abigail, frustrated by her husband and daughter’s obsessions with Harvey and with Susie’s murder, announces that she is going to pick up Buckley. She leaves, and Lindsey grabs Samuel’s hand. She tells her father worriedly that she thinks Mr. Harvey might have seen her.
When Lindsey arrives home with the evidence, her family’s anxiety is soon replaced by relief and even joy and pride at her having successfully gathered something that can be used against Harvey—all except for Abigail, who has been trying so hard to distance herself from all of this. It is too much for Abigail, and she leaves the house to get away and have some time to herself.
Themes
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
As Susie, up in heaven, walks away from the gazebo, she considers how grateful she is that no harm came to Lindsey that day. Lindsey’s death would mean her loss on Earth for the rest of their family—but would also mean the loss of Susie’s ability to vicariously live through her sister’s experiences. Franny stops Susie and hands her a map—she tells her to go there when she is feeling stronger.
Susie is not perfect—her impulses are often selfish, and in this case, we see that Lindsey’s loss on Earth would be devastating to Susie for a very selfish reason: she would not be able to live vicariously through her spirited, adventurous younger sister any longer, and her favorite connection to life on Earth would be severed.
Themes
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
Two days later, Susie follows the map—it leads her to an olive tree at the edge of a wheat field. A girl comes through the stalks and greets Susie, asking if she knows Franny. Susie tells the little girl that Franny gave her the map to this place. The little girl tells Susie that she must be “ready.” She introduces herself as Flora Hernandez. Susie begins to cry, sad but comforted to know another of Mr. Harvey’s victims at last. Flora tells Susie that “the others” will be arriving soon, and sure enough, girls and women begin to stream through the field toward the olive tree. Susie finds strength and comfort in the arms and stories of her fellow victims.
As Susie meets the other victims of George Harvey’s violence, she is flooded with pain, but also comfort and happiness. She knows how important these women’s stories are, and recognizes that though she has been self-centered in the past, she is just one of many voices, and one of many stories, which deserve to be told.
Themes
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon