The Lovely Bones

One of Susie Salmon’s classmates. A rebel, a feminist, and a loner, Ruth Connors excels in art and poetry but her adult sensibilities often land her in trouble with her teachers. Susie and Ruth had just begun a tentative friendship in the weeks before Susie’s murder, and as Susie’s soul ascends to heaven, she passes by Ruth Connors, forever changing the course of Ruth’s life. Ruth becomes obsessed not just with Susie, but with the plight of murdered women everywhere, and seeks to hone her “second sight” when she moves to New York City after high school graduation, attempting to investigate and write about the lives of murdered girls and women. On a visit home nearly ten years after Susie’s death—to oversee the closing of the sinkhole on the edge of town—Ruth and Ray Singh, who had had an extended dalliance in high school inspired by their mutual obsession with Susie, reconnect with one another, and take a trip out to the “mouth” of the Earth. When Ruth observes George Harvey’s car driving past the sinkhole, she experiences a vision of murdered women in long gowns stuffed in the back of Harvey’s car, and passes out. In this moment of cosmic transference, Ruth ascends to heaven, and Susie inhabits Ruth’s body. While Susie, in a fulfillment of her earthly desires, makes love to Ray, Ruth—up in heaven—receives the thanks and admiration of the women whose lives she has dedicated her own to understanding and, in a way, avenging. After Ruth and Susie switch back, Ruth finds herself transformed by the experience, and feels renewed in her life’s purpose of finding a way to convince the public of what she has always known: that the dead are all around, and that their souls are closer than we think.

Ruth Connors Quotes in The Lovely Bones

The The Lovely Bones quotes below are all either spoken by Ruth Connors or refer to Ruth Connors. 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.
Snapshots Quotes

[Ruth] had become convinced that she had a second sight that no one else had. She didn’t know what she would do with it, save taking copious notes for the future, but she had grown unafraid. The world she saw of dead women and children had become as real to her as the world in which she lived.

Related Characters: Susie Salmon (speaker), Ruth Connors
Page Number: 227-228
Explanation and Analysis:
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Years passed. The trees in our yard grew taller. I watched my family and my friends and neighbors, the teachers whom I'd had or imagined having, the high school I had dreamed about. As I sat in the gazebo I would pretend instead that I was sitting on the topmost branch of the maple under which my brother had swallowed a stick and still played hide-and-seek with Nate, or I would perch on the railing of a stairwell in New York and wait for Ruth to pass near. I would study with Ray. Drive the Pacific Coast Highway on a warm afternoon of salty air with my mother. But I would end each day with my father in his den. I would lay these photographs down in my mind, those gathered from my constant watching, and I could trace how one thing—my death—connected these images to a single source. No one could have predicted how my loss would change small moments on Earth. But I held on to those moments, hoarded them. None of them were lost as long as I was there watching.

Related Symbols: Susie’s Photographs
Page Number: 230-231
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 18 Quotes

When her father mentioned the sinkhole on the phone, Ruth was in the walk-in closet that she rented on First Avenue. She twirled the phone's long black cord around her wrist and arm and gave short, clipped answers of acknowledgment. The old woman that rented her the closet liked to listen in, so Ruth tried not to talk much on the phone. Later, from the street, she would call home collect and plan a visit. She had known she would make a pilgrimage to see it before the developers closed it up. Her fascination with places like the sinkhole was a secret she kept, as was my murder and our meeting in the faculty parking lot.

Related Characters: Susie Salmon (speaker), Ruth Connors
Related Symbols: The Sinkhole
Page Number: 249
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 23 Quotes

And there she was again, alone and walking out in the cornfield while everyone else I cared for sat together in one room. She would always feel me and think of me. I could see that, but there was no longer anything I could do. Ruth had been a girl haunted and now she would be a woman haunted. First by accident and now by choice. All of it, the story of my life and death, was hers if she chose to tell it, even to one person at a time.

Related Characters: Susie Salmon (speaker), Ruth Connors
Page Number: 321
Explanation and Analysis:
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Ruth Connors Character Timeline in The Lovely Bones

The timeline below shows where the character Ruth Connors appears in The Lovely Bones. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
On Susie’s way up to heaven, she touched a girl named Ruth—a classmate of hers, though the two had never been close. Ruth was standing in Susie’s... (full context)
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
Ruth begins writing poetry to express her feelings about the experience of being “passed by.” She... (full context)
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
One night, after watching Ruth, Susie runs into Franny in the middle of the central square of her heaven. Susie... (full context)
Chapter 6
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
Three people walk into the auditorium—two teachers and a student. The student is Ruth Connors, and she is being chastised for drawing a nude woman in art class. As... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
Susie attempts to climb down quietly off the scaffold, but Ruth sees her, and calls her name. Susie has the hat her mother has knit for... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
Weeks later, after Susie’s death and the ensuing police search through the cornfield, Ruth begins walking through the field mornings before school, and even during it—she has noticed that... (full context)
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...weeks since Susie’s death, due to the rumors still swirling about him, has often seen Ruth Connors walking alone on the soccer fields. One morning, he waits for Ruth there, and... (full context)
Chapter 9
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
Ruth arrives with her father and begins making small talk with Mr. and Mrs. Dewitt. Mrs.... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...does not contain Susie—she is in the air around him, in his cold mornings with Ruth, and in the quiet time he spends alone. He places Susie’s photograph inside a large... (full context)
Chapter 10
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...dropped out of high school and now runs a bike shop out near the sinkhole. Ruth Connors is invited to the symposium as well, and as she pulls up in her... (full context)
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
The following morning, in the dining hall, Ruth and Lindsey run into one another at breakfast. Ruth knowingly asks Lindsey what the fish... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...to be perfect, but Lindsey simply wants to get it over with. Meanwhile, the lonely Ruth writes obsessively in her journal about Lindsey and Samuel’s relationship. Susie notes that Ruth writes... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
On one of the last nights of camp, Ruth creeps into Lindsey’s dorm. She tells Lindsey that she has just had a dream about... (full context)
Chapter 13
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...Fairfax high school—are embellishing the story of what happened to them that night. Ray and Ruth, also now in high school, watch as Brian “holds court” with the other students; Susie,... (full context)
Chapter 16
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...after Susie’s death, the doorbell at the Singh house rings, and Ruana answers the door. Ruth is there, holding a sack of groceries. She asks if Ray is home, and Ruana... (full context)
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
When Ruth walks into Ray’s bedroom, he is dancing to a Jethro Tull record. He stops dancing... (full context)
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Ruth and Ray arrive at the cornfield. They hold hands in silence, and are surprised to... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...saying goodbye to Susie and letting her go—Susie, looking down from heaven, realizes this too. Ruth sees the Salmons approaching, and nudges Ray to go help them into the circle. Ray... (full context)
Snapshots
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
In June of 1977, Ruth moves to New York City. There she lives in an old woman’s walk-in closet and... (full context)
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...sitting on a tall branch in her own yard, or on a fire escape with Ruth, in the library with Ray, at the vineyard with her mother, or with her father... (full context)
Chapter 18
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Ruth, in her walk-in closet, takes a phone call from her father. He tells her that... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
Ruth moves through New York City always tilted forward, “with the expression of someone who [is]... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
As Ruth moves through New York, she stops and stands in certain places where she intuits that... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
The day after Lindsey and Samuel’s graduation, Susie joins Ruth on her walk. Ruth wanders through Central Park with her journal. She spots a baby... (full context)
Chapter 21
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
In the present, Ruth’s father cuts an article about the filling-in of the sinkhole out of the paper for... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Susie looks down on Route 30, at a spot Ruth and Ray are about to drive past. She sees Len coming out of an apartment... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
As Susie turns south to catch up with Ruth and Ray, she instead runs into Mr. Harvey. He is driving a ramshackle orange car,... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
As Ruth and Ray arrive at the sinkhole, they both remark on how nothing much has changed,... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
As Ruth and Ray return to their car, Ruth remains silent, vowing not to tell Ray about... (full context)
Chapter 22
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
As Ruth collapses into the road, Mr. Harvey “sail[s] away unwatched.” Susie tips forward helplessly, falling through... (full context)
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
Ray asks Susie-as-Ruth what happened, but Susie—knowing he still believes her to be Ruth—does not know how to... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...Rather than reveal what has happened, Susie says only, “Kiss me.” Ray hesitates, and asks “Ruth” what has happened to her. Susie-as-Ruth reaches her hands up to Ray’s face and pulls... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...to “make himself at home.” In the bathroom, Susie runs the water and takes off Ruth’s clothes. She hopes that Ruth can see her body as Susie sees it—“perfect” in all... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...the shower, her eyes filling with tears. After a moment, he does. As Ray touches Ruth’s body, he realizes that Susie is inside of her. Susie confesses that she has been... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...the bed and stands up to go to the bathroom. Susie implores him to read Ruth’s journals as the room fills with the spirits of dead men and women. Slowly, Susie... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
Susie notices that she is standing up among the spirts, but Ruth is sprawled across the desk. From the bathroom, Susie hears Ray calling for her to... (full context)
Chapter 23
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...next morning, Ray is awoken by the smell of his mother baking downstairs. He and Ruth are in his childhood bed together. After leaving the bike shop the previous evening, they... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
In her kitchen, Ruana considers divorce. Something about the “crumbling, clinging postures” Ruth and Ray adopted together in sleep has forced her to try and remember the last... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...heavily she hovers over them right now. Susie looks out to the cornfield and sees Ruth there, alone—a woman haunted, but by choice now. Susie knows that the story of her... (full context)
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...big hole in the ceiling, and when Samuel says it does, Ray tells him that Ruth’s father owns it—he has bought up old places around the neighborhood and wants to restore... (full context)
Bones
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...surgery, Ray hangs onto this truth. If he ever finds himself doubting it, he calls Ruth, who still lives in New York City, and is still trying to find a way... (full context)