The Lovely Bones


Alice Sebold

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The Snow Globe Symbol Analysis

The Snow Globe Symbol Icon

In the novel’s prologue, Susie reflects on being very young and playing with a snow globe that belonged to her father Jack. A penguin sat inside the slow globe, and Susie recalls being sad for the penguin every time she played with the globe, because she thought he must be lonely. Susie’s father reassured her that the penguin was fine and in fact happy—he was “trapped in a perfect world.” Susie, who narrates the story of her murder and the years which follow it, lives in her own heaven—a place tailor-made to her preferences, where her dreams of going to Fairfax High School, owning multiple dogs, and spending her nights singing and playing music are all fulfilled. Susie is “trapped,” though—she is compelled not to commit to her role in the afterlife, but instead to continue, at all hours, looking down on those she has left behind. Susie is all alone in a “perfect world,” just like the penguin she played with as a child. The snow globe, then, symbolizes Susie’s alienation and isolation from the world of the living, which she feels—justly—that she has been ripped away from far too soon.

The Snow Globe Quotes in The Lovely Bones

The The Lovely Bones quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Snow Globe. 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.
Prologue Quotes

Inside the snow globe on my father’s desk, there was a penguin wearing a red-and-white-striped scarf. When I was little my father would pull me into his lap and reach for the snow globe. He would turn it over, letting all the snow collect on the top, then quickly invert it. The two of us watched the snow fall gently around the penguin. The penguin was alone in there, I thought, and I worried for him. When I told my father this, he said, "Don't worry Susie; he has a nice life. He's trapped in a perfect world."

Related Characters: Susie Salmon (speaker), Jack Salmon
Related Symbols: The Snow Globe
Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Snow Globe Symbol Timeline in The Lovely Bones

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Snow Globe appears in The Lovely Bones. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
Susie Salmon recalls a snow globe that, in her childhood, always sat on her father’s desk. Inside the snow globe was... (full context)
Chapter 11
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...nothing, trapped as she is in her “perfect world,” just like the penguin in the snow globe . Quietly, she longs for her father to “go away and leave [her] be.” (full context)
Chapter 17
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
At home, in his den, Jack Salmon plays with an old snow globe that Susie once loved. Hal Heckler has made it back from the ceremony on his... (full context)