The Lovely Bones

Susie’s murderer is a solitary, strange man who lives in a green house just down the street from the Salmon family. His brutal rape and murder of Susie Salmon instantly paints him as the novel’s incontrovertible and irredeemable antagonist, and as he evades the suspicions of neighbors and law officials alike, the reader is made to feel as helpless as Susie herself feels up in heaven, removed from the ability to influence those she loves toward seeing Harvey as not just odd and lonely but actually evil. As the months go by and Harvey’s odd behavior catches the eye of the Salmon family, Jack begins to suspect him of Susie’s murder, and starts attempting to compile evidence against him—but there is seemingly nothing to link him to Susie. Lindsey realizes that perhaps her father’s hunch is more than just that, and she herself breaks into George Harvey’s house over a year after Susie’s murder. She retrieves an important piece of evidence—a sketch from Harvey’s notebook depicting the underground structure in the cornfield in which Susie was murdered—but Harvey explains this evidence away as the tearful, guilt-ridden attempt of a concerned neighbor to understand a horrible atrocity. Nevertheless, Harvey knows the police will soon be onto him, and he flees Norristown to go on the lam. In flashbacks, it is revealed that Harvey had a strange and difficult childhood—his mother, a kleptomaniac, frequently used him as a tool in her serial thefts and, eventually, was either forced into the desert by her husband, or fled of her own accord. Harvey, as an adult, has killed upwards of six girls and women, preferring younger teens and small children. As he hides up and down the Northeast Corridor, being pursued all the while by police, Harvey occasionally returns to Norristown to check up on his old house and neighborhood. Eventually he attempts to kill again, but is thwarted when an icicle falls on him, knocking him off balance and tipping him forward into an icy ravine. Harvey’s arc deals with themes of justice and injustice, isolation, community, and desire. In the end, while he is not brought to justice by the law, a kind of cosmic justice is indeed served—and it is heavily implied that Susie Salmon, who in games of “How to Commit the Perfect Murder” always chose an icicle as her weapon, may have had a hand in Harvey’s just desserts.

George Harvey Quotes in The Lovely Bones

The The Lovely Bones quotes below are all either spoken by George Harvey or refer to George Harvey. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Back Bay edition of The Lovely Bones published in 2002.
Chapter 1 Quotes

My murderer was a man from our neighborhood. My mother liked his border flowers, and my father talked to him once about fertilizer. My murderer believed in old-fashioned things like eggshells and coffee grounds, which he said his own mother had used. My father came home smiling, making jokes about how the man's garden might be beautiful but it would stink to high heaven once a heat wave hit.

Related Characters: Susie Salmon (speaker), Jack Salmon, Abigail Salmon, George Harvey
Page Number: 6
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Chapter 21 Quotes

While he scanned the windows of my old house and wondered where the other members of my family were—whether my father's leg still made him hobble—I saw the final vestiges of the animals and the women taking leave of Mr. Harvey’s house. They struggled forward together. He knew he could not outrace them. He sat in his car and prepared the last vestiges of the face he had been giving authorities for decades—the face of a bland man they might pity or despise but never blame. As the officer pulled alongside him, the women slipped in the [car] windows and the cats curled around his ankles.

Related Characters: Susie Salmon (speaker), George Harvey
Page Number: 297-298
Explanation and Analysis:
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George Harvey Character Timeline in The Lovely Bones

The timeline below shows where the character George Harvey appears in The Lovely Bones. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...school. “Don’t let me startle you,” says a nearby voice: it is Susie’s neighbor, Mr. Harvey. Susie is of course startled, but she says hello anyway. Mr. Harvey asks Susie if... (full context)
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Mr. Harvey offers to show Susie something he has built in the cornfield. Susie, wary, tells Mr.... (full context)
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Susie reveals that in the weeks after her murder, Mr. Harvey will run into her mother on the street, and express his condolences to her for... (full context)
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Back in the cornfield, Mr. Harvey promises Susie that what he has to show her will only take a minute. Susie... (full context)
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Mr. Harvey squats down and knocks against the ground. He explains that he has built a wooden... (full context)
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...the hole as being the size of her family’s mudroom—the ceilings were low, and Mr. Harvey had to stoop to fit inside. A bench and a shelf had been dug out... (full context)
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...days later and brings it home with a “telling” corn husk attached, she reveals, Mr. Harvey will have closed the underground room up. (full context)
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Mr. Harvey asks Susie if she would like a “refreshment,” which Susie thinks is an odd word... (full context)
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Mr. Harvey asks Susie if she’s warm in the room, and instructs her to take off her... (full context)
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Susie pleads with Mr. Harvey, but he instructs her to take off her clothes, insisting he needs to check and... (full context)
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Susie begins to struggle physically against Mr. Harvey, fighting as hard as she can, but nevertheless Harvey overpowers her, forces her down to... (full context)
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Mr. Harvey begins kissing Susie, and she is revolted by his “blubbery” lips. Susie has already had... (full context)
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Susie begs Mr. Harvey to stop, combining the words “please” and “don’t” futilely and repetitively, until Harvey reaches into... (full context)
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After Mr. Harvey finishes, he forces Susie to lie still beneath him and listen to their hearts beating... (full context)
Chapter 2
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...her heaven, Susie laments that she cannot have the thing she wants most: for Mr. Harvey to be dead, and for her to be alive. Nevertheless, Susie begins to believe that... (full context)
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...Susie crazy. She is miserable not to be able to steer the police towards Mr. Harvey’s house, right down the street from her parents’ house. She watches as Mr. Harvey carves... (full context)
Chapter 4
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Susie looks back on the hours after she was murdered, during which Mr. Harvey made moves to cover up the crime. First, he collapsed the hole in the cornfield... (full context)
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...some time before she understood what the reader has “undoubtedly already assumed”—that she was not Harvey’s first kill. Though Harvey knew to watch the weather for ideal precipitation conditions that would... (full context)
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...just because the smell is bad or dangerous, and sees her own behavior—obsessively watching Mr. Harvey—in this light. (full context)
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Susie remembers watching Mr. Harvey take the sack full of her remains to a sinkhole on the edge of town,... (full context)
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As Mr. Harvey walked back to his car, he put his hand in his pocket and felt Susie’s... (full context)
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Two days before Christmas—the day she appears to her father—Susie watches Mr. Harvey reading a book on the native people of Mali. As he reads about the cloth... (full context)
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...in the shards, is out for a walk to clear his head. He spots Mr. Harvey, hard at work in his back yard, wearing just a t-shirt despite the cold. Jack... (full context)
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After an hour, the basic structure is done, and Mr. Harvey goes back into the house. Outside, it begins to snow. Jack takes the snow as... (full context)
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Mr. Harvey emerges from the house with a stack of sheets in his arms, meant to be... (full context)
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Mr. Harvey stands inside the tent, thinking of how the tribes he has been reading about use... (full context)
Chapter 5
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When Jack returns from building the tent at Harvey’s that day, Abigail is not home. Jack goes up to his den and begins making... (full context)
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...Jack asks Lindsey how she’s doing, and thinks, sickened, of how she walks past Mr. Harvey’s house on the way to school every single day. Lindsey tells Jack that she wants... (full context)
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...smaller each day, and so he calls Len to tell him that he believes Mr. Harvey knows something about Susie’s death. He explains the bizarre, ritualistic building the tent, and contextualizes... (full context)
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On his first trip to George Harvey’s house in the days after Susie’s murder, Len Fenerman finds nothing remarkable or suspicious... (full context)
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Fenerman asks where Harvey usually builds the tent. Harvey answers the basement, and volunteers to show the detective the... (full context)
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Later, Len calls Jack Salmon to tell him that though Harvey is odd, there is nothing incriminating or suspicious about him. When Jack asks what Harvey... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...Jack tells her—it is the first time he has admitted that he is suspicious of George Harvey to anyone but Len Fenerman. (full context)
Chapter 8
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Susie describes Mr. Harvey’s nightly dreams of buildings in the three months following her murder. He dreams of thatched-roof... (full context)
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Susie can see the whole of Mr. Harvey’s life, all the way back to his childhood. Mr. Harvey, as a child in his... (full context)
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When the “not still” dreams come back, Mr. Harvey turns to his father’s old sketchbooks, trying to “steep himself” in pictures of other places... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...warns Abigail that she and Jack will be sued if he keeps looking into Mr. Harvey. What the women cannot see—but what Susie can—is that Lindsey is sitting on the top... (full context)
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...the door. Standing behind Len Fenerman, who is inside the doorway and singing along, is George Harvey. Lindsey locks eyes with him and immediately faints on the spot. In the ensuing... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...his jogging outfit, and takes Holiday out for a walk—an excuse to pass by Mr. Harvey’s house. It is late summer, and still there has been no movement on Susie’s case.... (full context)
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From heaven, Susie remarks on how her house and Mr. Harvey’s house have the exact same layout. But whereas Susie’s house is warm and full, Harvey’s... (full context)
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Harvey keeps things to count, as counting reassures him. He has several small things, kept from... (full context)
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Harvey often falls asleep in the basement—he can keep odd hours in there, as no light... (full context)
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All summer, Jack has been calling the police repeatedly to report small things about Harvey, thus irritating the police. In early August, Len stops by the Salmon house to set... (full context)
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That night, Jack writes in his notebook that “Abigail thinks Len Fenerman is right about Harvey.” Alone in his study, he considers how Abigail has shied away from him more and... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...finds that her father is missing. Abigail knows suddenly that Jack has gone off after Harvey and gotten himself into trouble, and speaks derisively of his foolishness. Lindsey insists they go... (full context)
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...the visitors’ area to talk. Abigail explains what has happened—Jack followed Clarissa, thinking she was George Harvey. As Abigail and Len enter the visitors’ area, she spots Hal Heckler sitting there,... (full context)
Chapter 13
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...on an extended leave from work—prepares to return to the office. He has not spoken George Harvey’s name aloud in months, and has only written of him in his notebook, as... (full context)
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...about Susie when she’s “everywhere.” Lindsey asks Jack if he is still convinced that Mr. Harvey had something to do with Susie’s murder, and he tells her though that there is... (full context)
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...turn and walk back toward home, Abigail tells Lynn that she wants to walk by George Harvey’s house. (full context)
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As Grandma Lynn passes by George Harvey’s house on the way home, she senses something evil radiating from the house, and... (full context)
Chapter 14
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Lindsey cases George Harvey’s house for a week. She has been training with the junior high boys’ soccer... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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Upstairs, Lindsey opens Harvey’s bedroom window and goes through it. Mr. Harvey arrives upstairs just as Lindsey jumps—she lands... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
Chapter 15
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Susie delves into Mr. Harvey’s childhood. He and his mother would often sneak away from home—and Harvey’s father—and his mother... (full context)
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...middle of the night, they were awakened by three men peering through the truck windows. George’s mother told him to remain quiet, and explained that she was going to pretend to... (full context)
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Now, as Mr. Harvey watches Lindsey race through his yard, his heart beats wildly before calming. He sees that... (full context)
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...Jack that two officers have already been sent to investigate. When the officers arrive at Harvey’s door, they find “a man who [i]s tearfully upset.” Though the officers, over the radio,... (full context)
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When the officers confront Harvey about the nature of the drawing taken from his sketchbook, he cunningly explains that he... (full context)
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...meet Len. While she and Len rendezvous at the mall, the officers descend upon Mr. Harvey’s house and hear his tearful testimony. (full context)
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...and follows him through the tunnel. They begin to kiss. As their tryst unfolds, Mr. Harvey begins packing up his belongings. Abigail and Len make love as Mr. Harvey leaves his... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...a large crowd has gathered for a candlelit vigil at the cornfield. Rumors of Mr. Harvey’s flight—and thus his suspected guilt—have begun to ripple through the neighborhood, but no one has... (full context)
Snapshots
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In December of 1975, a year has passed since Mr. Harvey packed up and left. There has been no sign of him. One day, Lindsey asks... (full context)
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...fort. Jack does not help him—it reminds him of building the bridal tent with Mr. Harvey. Instead Jack watches from the house as Buckley, day after day, plays alone in the... (full context)
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...Len Fenerman visits the evidence room at the police station. The animal bones unearthed from Harvey’s crawl space are there. Finding them prompted a dig beneath the basement for Susie’s remains.... (full context)
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Mr. Harvey has been “living wild” along the Northeast Corridor, crisscrossing through Pennsylvania and staying occasionally in... (full context)
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...keystone charm back to Len’s investigation. Len insists that Susie’s file is dead, but volunteers George Harvey’s name and some information about Susie. The investigator tells Fenerman that the body turned... (full context)
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...for eight years, been asking his network of biker friends for help in tracking down George Harvey. One night, a man in the Hell’s Angels biker gang named Ralph Cichetti confesses... (full context)
Chapter 20
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Mr. Harvey arrives at a tin-roofed shack in Connecticut. He killed a young waitress in the shack... (full context)
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...morning it begins to rain. In Connecticut, rain falls on the tin-roofed shack where Mr. Harvey is sleeping—he is dreaming of Lindsey and the number on the back of her jersey... (full context)
Chapter 21
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...home and cannot find a job. Ray sadly remarks that Joe “never got over” Mr. Harvey unjustly framing him for the killing of the neighborhood animals. (full context)
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...of evidence—photos of the graves of the recovered bodies that have been linked to Mr. Harvey. Len is gearing up to go visit Jack in the hospital, and is thinking hard... (full context)
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...room. Abigail awkwardly welcomes him. Len tells Abigail and Jack not to get their hopes up—Harvey still hasn’t been caught. He reveals that the police have found an item of Susie’s—the... (full context)
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...Susie turns south to catch up with Ruth and Ray, she instead runs into Mr. Harvey. He is driving a ramshackle orange car, and as he drives along, Susie can sense... (full context)
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...hospital with Jack, reading to him from the newspaper. Lindsey is at home alone. Mr. Harvey is driving through the neighborhood, and soon circles onto his old street. No one in... (full context)
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Harvey passes the Salmon house, and can see Lindsey in the upstairs window. Susie sees a... (full context)
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...the car and waits. Susie feels a prickling along her spine, and watches as Mr. Harvey’s car passes by the sinkhole. As the car goes by, Ruth sees all the women... (full context)
Chapter 22
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As Ruth collapses into the road, Mr. Harvey “sail[s] away unwatched.” Susie tips forward helplessly, falling through the farthest boundary of her heaven.... (full context)
Bones
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...Susie is about to turn away from looking down on the diner, she sees Mr. Harvey coming out of the doors of a Greyhound bus in the parking lot. Mr. Harvey... (full context)
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Mr. Harvey attempts to engage the girl in a conversation, but she rebuffs him. He persists, but... (full context)