12/23- Pages 5- 15 In this section the main character Susie Salmon is introduced along with Mr. Harvey, another main character. The section tells all about her murder. It began with her taking a shortcut home after school through a cornfield. Mr. Harvey, who had been planning the murder, asks her if she wants to see the community hiding place/hangout he built into the cornfield. Being curious and naïve she says yes. She doesn’t become scared until he asks if she has a boyfriend and he says “Take your clothes off… I want to check that you’re still a virgin,”. Next, Susie tells us about how he raped her and she struggled. After the rape he killed her.
12/24- pages 16- 35 In the second section Susie talks about her heaven. In the book, everyone has their own personal even before going to the big heaven. People who had common interests can be in similar personal heavens. In her heaven, she met her roommate Holly and her counselor Franny. While Susie is learning about her heaven, the detective working Susie’s case, Len Fenerman, call her parents, Jack and Abigail, to tell them they found Susie’s elbow bone in the field. They test the dirt and finds blood in it. Fenermn then tells her parents that he thinks she is dead. At the crime scene, they find a few of Susie’s personal items such as a book, school work, a love letter from Ray Singh, and the hat Susie’s mom made her.
12/26- pages 36- 48 In this section Susie talks about Ruth Connors a lot. Ruth was a school friend. While Susie was leaving Earth she accidentally touched her. Ruth becomes very interested in Susie’s death and life. She breaks into Susie’s friend Clarissa’s locker to steal a scrapbook with Susie in it. Also in this section, Susie’s dad struggles even more than before with his daughter’s death. He looks at the ship bottles they made. He also starts to confuse Buckley, Susie’s younger brother, and Susie for a few moments as Buckley is comforting him.
12/27- pages 49- 57 This section talks about what Mr. Harvey does right after murdering Susie. Mr. Harvey put her body parts in a bag and collapses the hole that the secret structure used to be. When Mr. Harvey gets home, He gets in the shower and thinks about how much he enjoyed killing her. While in the shower, Susie’s blood from the bag sweeps out onto the floor and leaves a permanent stain. Mr. Harvey then puts the bag of bloody body parts in a safe and dumps it into a sinkhole close by. After he dumps her body, he takes a walk and finds her charm bracelet in his pocket. He removes the Pennsylvania keystone charm to keep it and then throws the rest of the bracelet into a manmade lake. Also in this section, Mr. Harvey starts building a new trap but this one was made out of cloth. Jack breaks the ship bottles, Jack begins helping Mr. Harvey as they talk, and Jack begins to suspect and accuse Mr. Harvey of killing his daughter.
12/28- pages 58- 71 This section is mostly about Jack calling Fenerman about his suspicions about Mr. Harvey. Fenerman goes and talks to Mr. Harvey; he doesn’t find Mr. Harvey suspicious, he only finds him odd. When Mr. Harvey tells Fenerman and the rest of the neighborhood two different names for his deceased wife, Jack begins a list. On Christmas, Jack, Buckley, and Lindsey play monopoly. Jack tries to tell Buckley that Susie is dead while playing, but he doesn’t understand. Also on Christmas Samuel Heckler, comes to give Lindsey half of a heart necklace (he has the other half around his neck) and she kisses him in the kitchen.
12/29- pages 72- 90 Susie has a flashback in this section. She flashes back two weeks before her murder in this chapter. On the day she was remembering she almost kissed Ray after he called her beautiful, but they were interrupted when teachers were yelling at Ruth because she drew a realistic nude for art class. Susie comforts Ruth after the teachers leave. Also in this section, Jack goes to Ray’s house to talk to him and tell him and his mom that he thinks Mr. Harvey did it. As Jack is at Ray’s house Fenerman is waiting at the Salmon house to talk to him and his wife.
12/30- pages 91- 95 In this section, Buckley talks to his friend Nate about how he can see Susie and shows Nate her room. Holiday the family dog found Susie’s stash of private stuff and scattered them across her room. One of the objects was a bloody twig. She has another flashback. This flashback is when she was babysitting Buckley, he got a twig stuck in his throat and couldn’t breathe. Because no one else was home, she drove her dad’s car to the hospital (she couldn’t drive yet) and saved his life. Grandma Lynn told her that because she said Buckley, she would live a long life.
12/31- pages 96- 97 This section is all about Mr. Harvey. Susie can see his dreams and ever since the night he murdered her he has been dreaming about buildings. He dreams mostly about the Church of the Transfiguration until his dreams of women and children start to come back. Susie can also see his past. She can see how before Mr. Harvey’s dad abandoned him and his mother he taught him how to build. As an adult he tries to be satisfied with building dollhouses.
1/1- pages 98- 112 This section is two months after her death. They are having a memorial service for her tomorrow. Grandma Lynn comes. She finds fashion, thinness and drinking very important. Typically she is the bad influence but now she is the glue holding the family together because Jack and Abigail are both in a severe depression. Mr. Harvey comes to the memorial and stays in the back behind Fenerman. Lynn tells Lindsey that he is the one who killed Susie. Lindsey passes out from this information. While everybody gathers around her, he leaves.
1/2- pages 113- 125 In this section, it was summer. Lindsey, Samuel, and Ruth attend a camp. Ruth becomes more devoted to her Susie poetry. Susie learns that Ruth is homosexual. Susie watches Earth from the gazebo in her personal heaven. Franny tells Susie that to get to the big heaven you have to stop worrying about Earth. Susie doesn’t believe that there will ever be a time that she will be able to stop worrying about Earth.
1/3- pages 126- 140 Jack dreams of killing Mr. Harvey but he knows that he needs solid proof before killing him. As Mr. Harvey becomes less worried, the police slowly stop investigating him. He kills small animals around the neighborhood and blames it on a kid named Joe Ellis to stop himself from killing another girl. One night Jack sees a light in the cornfield and he grabs a baseball bat as he left for the field because he thought that it was Mr. Harvey. Susie knew that it was only Clarissa waiting for Brian but Jack did not know that. Brian starts beating up Jack with the baseball bat. However, Susie was the only one who knew that Mr. Harvey was in fact in the field that night.
1/4- pages 141- 155 Jack is in the hospital waiting to have knee surgery. Earlier that morning after Jack’s attack, the family wakes up from the sirens. Abigail rushes to the hospital and forbids Lindsey to come. However, Lindsey gets a ride from Hal Heckler, her boyfriend’s brother. While Lindsey is in her dad’s room, Abigail is outside with Fenerman. They talk about what happens and he tells her that his wife committed suicide. They smoke as they talk. They began kissing.
1/5- pages 156- 173 Abigail continues her affair with Fenerman. Her mom, Grandma Lynn, realizes she is having one while she is over for Thanksgiving Break. Grandma Lynn tries to talk her out of it but Abigail refuses to admit she is having one. As Jack is recovering, he tells Lindsey that if something of Susie’s was found in his house, they could prove him guilty. Jack secretly encourages Lindsey to break into his house and find something.
1/6- pages 174-186 Lindsey stalks him while Mr. Harvey is stalking her. One day she pretends to be injured so she can sneak into his house while he is gone. In Mr. Harvey’s bedroom, she finds his sketchbook with all of his sketches of traps. She finds the one for Susie labeled “Stolfutz Cornfield”. Mr. Harvey returns right as she finds it. While getting a snack she rips it out. Lindsey jumps out of a window right in time. In heaven, Franny gives Susie a map to a place where she can meet Harvey’s other victims and tell each other their stories.
1/7- pages 187-197 When Mr. Harvey first sees Lindsey running from his house he panic but he calmed himself down. He drilled a hole into the foundation and put the bloody knife and his trophy bag down there. Next he called the cops to report the break-in. The cops almost arrest him because of the drawing, but he makes up a story and they buy it. Abigail stopped at a pay phone to tell Fenerman to meet her at the mall. While Fenerman and Abigail are having sex, Mr. Harvey packs and leaves town.
1/8- pages 198- 211 In this section the one year anniversary of Susie’s death comes up. Ruth visits Ray at his house and brings candles. She said that she wants to hold a vigil for Susie in the cornfield. A crowd grows in the cornfield for the vigil. Lindsey can feel Abigail becoming more distant.
1/9- pages 212- 231 The section somewhat fasts forward to the future. It says how Abigail left Jack, how Lindsey finds out about the affair, Fenerman realizes that Jack was right about Mr. Harvey being guilty, a hunter finds her Keystone charm by the bones of a child’s foot, and that Ruth moved to New York City. All of these events occur in different years and times.
1/10- pages 232- 270 In this section, Lindsey is now 21 and engaged to Samuel. The sinkhole is scheduled to be filled and Ruth wants to come back and check it out. Buckley and Jack get into an argument when Buckley tries to use Susie’s old clothes in his garden. Jack doesn’t allow him to and they start yelling at each other. Which leads to Jack having a heart attack. Grandma Lynn messages Abigail at the winery she works at that their has been a family emergency. She calls the hospital and they tell her that Jack had a heart attack. Abigail then gets on a plane to fly back home. Lindsey and Buckley feel hatred towards her because of the affair and that she left them. When in Jack’s hospital room, Abigail starts crying.
1/11- pages 271- 299 In this section, Abigail and Jack fall back in love with each and she decides to stay home after planning on going back to California. Meanwhile, Mr. Harvey is sleeping in a shack in Connecticut. He is dreaming about Lindsey when she was running away after her successful break-in. Whenever he felt threatened he would dream about the threats. He was feeling very threatened at the time. Also in this section Mr. Harvey comes back. Ruth and Ray visit the sinkhole and she can feel that her body was dumped there. As Mr. Harvey drives past the sinkhole, Ruth can see all the people he killed and she passes out. As she passes out Susie falls to Earth.
1/12- pages 300- 328 In this final section, Susie goes into Ruth’s body as Ruth goes to heaven. When Ray realizes that Susie is in Ruth’s body, they have sex and fall asleep. She tells Ray that she is among the living so he can talk to her whenever he wants. She then calls home and Buckley answers. However, it’s too late and Buckley cant hear her because Susie and Ruth switched bodies again. Next Abigail, Buckley, and Lindsey bring home Jack. They have a small gathering with champagne and Susie’s loved ones. At the end Susie stops watching.
After Reading Questions
I would 100% recommend this book to other students. This book helps people see that not everyone is good in this world. It also shows that everyone grieves and mourns differently and you have to accept that. My favorite part of the book was the epilogue because Mr. Harvey dies after he fails to kill another girl. My reaction to reading this book was slightly frustrated but overall pleased. I was frustrated because of Abigail’s affair, the fact Abigail left, and that Mr. Harvey never went to jail. However, I was pleased that everything at the end fell perfectly into place. Susie was now in the big heaven and her loved ones on Earth were happy. A lesson in this book was that time and love heals everything. Without time and love, Susie’s loved ones would have never moved on and accepted that Susie was dead.
Susie Salmon- Susie Salmon is the main character and narrator. Susie is introduced on page 5 where she introduces herself and begins telling her story. A few traits of Susie are that she is naïve, forgiving, and creative. The author presents these traits through speech and actions. Susie’s reaction when she was alone in the structure with Mr. Harvey was terrified. She followed her killer into the underground structure out of curiosity. She isn’t afraid until he starts asking personal questions such as: “Do you have a boyfriend?”. She becomes terrified and scared that he is going to hurt her and she tries to run but doesn’t make it. Another event in the book that affects Susie is finding out about the other people Mr. Harvey killed. She talked with Mr. Harvey’s other victims and they told each other their stories. She felt sad for the others and angrier with Mr. Harvey for getting away with it so easily. Throughout the story, Susie learns to accept her death even though it was awful and made her live a short life. Throughout the story we saw her scared, frustrated, calm, accepting, and happy. Mostly in the being of the book she was frustrated that no one suspected her killer and was angry at him because he went on with life so easily and was so happy after he killed her. Towards the end of the book, Susie became more accepting of her death. She wasn’t happy with how and when she died but she came to terms with it. She also accepted and forgave mostly Len Fenerman for not catching Mr. Harvey. One quote from page number five that describes how Susie was: “In my junior high yearbook I had a quote from a Spanish poet my sister had turned me on to, Juan Ramón Jiménez. It went like this: ‘ If they give you ruled paper, write the other way.’ I chose it both because it expressed my contempt for my structured surroundings à la the classroom and because, not being some dopey quote from a rock group, I thought it marked me as literary.” This quote shows Susie’s creativity and uniqueness.
Mr. Harvey- Mr. Harvey was Susie Salmon’s killer. He killed her and many other people throughout his adult life. Mr. Harvey was manipulative, skilled, resourceful, and smart. He manipulated so many people by convincing them that he was only an odd person, not a killer. He used his skills, resourcefulness, and smartness to create the nearly perfect crime. We learn who he is and what his traits are through speech and actions. He demonstrated his traits when he would build a lavish structure out of resources and use the structures to kill people. The first event that caused Mr. Harvey to react was killing and raping Susie. Before he did that he was slowly feeling the urges to kill another person. After he killed her, he felt happy, better, and more of himself. Another event that caused Mr. Harvey to change was Lindsey’s break-in. Before the break-in he was beginning to feel safe and that he was no longer being investigated by the police. However, after the break-in, he felt very threatened, which caused him to leave. From the time he left to the time he dies in the epilogue, he feels threatened. That break-in helped the police find evidence against him for Susie’s murder. Throughout the book we see Mr. Harvey lose confidence and become more and more paranoid with cops looking at him. One good quote that describes Mr. Harvey’s manipulative trait early in the book is on page 7-8, it says: ” Mr. Harvey would later say these words to my mother when he ran into her on the street: ‘I heard about the horrible, horrible tragedy. What was your daughter’s name, again?’ ” This quote shows how he could fake sympathy and tricked people into not suspecting him because he made people think that if he didn’t even know her name, he couldn’t have killed her.
Two motifs in my book are a Monopoly shoe and Susie’s Keystone charm. The pair of Monopoly shoe represents Susie and her being dead. During her life, she always used the Monopoly shoe for her player and Jack used her piece to try and tell Buckley that Susie is dead. However, Buckley didn’t understand and Jack told him to keep the game piece. They first discuss this motif on page 68 when Jack says ” ‘This shoe was the piece Susie played Monopoly with.’ ” The next time the Monopoly shoe came up was when Buckley and Jack got in a fight in Buckley’s garden. On page 256, Buckley says ” ‘ You took the shoe, didn’t you?’ ”
The second motif is the Keystone charm from Susie’s charm bracelet. The Keystone charm also represents Susie. We first know about her charm bracelet after Mr. Harvey dumps Susie’s body in the sinkhole. On page 53, Susie says “There was my silver charm bracelet.” He then removes the Keystone charm and then throws the rest of the bracelet into a manmade lake. The next time the charm is mentioned was on pages 219-220 when they say “In Connecticut on September 10, 1976, a hunter on his way back to his car saw something shiny on the ground. My Pennsylvania keystone charm.” Her charm was found by a child’s foot. Her charm represented her life and we saw this each time the charm was mentioned.
Two themes of out of many are mortality and love. Mortality is portrayed throughout the book because of Susie Salmon being dead and telling her story from her afterlife. A quote that comes from death scene can be found on page 15. The quote says, “He took the hat from my mouth. ‘Tell me you love me,’ he said. Gently, I did. The end came anyway.” This quote is the beginning of the strong theme of mortality throughout the book.
The second theme of love is present with the love the family has for each other, the Abigail/Len Fenerman affair, and the multiple relationships with many characters. One quote that shows the theme of love is when Lindsey and Samuel sneak into the empty house on page 237. The quote says “Even with the sound of rain, Lindsey still felt hidden away, tucked safely in an outside corner of the world with the one person she loved more than anyone else.”
“Embalming fluid” pg 9- a mixture of chemicals used to preserve bodies of deceased people
“vigil” pg 25- an event or a period of time when a person or group stays in a place and quietly waits, prays, etc.
“begrudged” pg 59- envy the possession or enjoyment of something; give reluctantly or resentfully
“grave rubbings” pg 91- taking butcher paper and taping it to a grave and rubbing the paper with charcoal or crayon over the grave. This leaves the engravings untouched by the crayon or charcoal
“quicklime” pg 130- a white caustic alkaline substance consisting of calcium oxide, which is obtained by heating limestone and which combines with water with the production of much heat; lime
“modular” pg 146- employing or involving a module or modules as the basis of design or construction
“calico dress” pg 186-a plain-woven textile made from unbleached and often not fully processed cotton
“scavenged” pg 203- search for and collect (anything useable) from discarded waste
“transmutable” pg 224- to change from one nature, substance, form, or condition into another
“recalcitrant” pg 254- having an obstinately uncooperative attitude toward authority or discipline
There are two major setting in the book: Susie’s personal heaven and an unnamed Pennsylvania suburb where Susie lived and died. Susie’s personal heaven can be however she wants it to be. Her personal heaven is filled with her favorite things such as kids playing sports, no teachers in high school, puppies, junk food, and fashion magazines. On page 18 Susie tells us “We had been given, in our heavens, our simplest dreams.” This accurately describes how Susie and her roommate in heaven, Holly, could wish for anything and it would simply appear.
The other setting is a Pennsylvania suburb. The book first starts on December 6, 1973, and continues for a few years and ends when Susie goes to the big heaven. One quote from page 6 reads “It was dark out because the days were shorter in winter, and I remember how the broken cornstalks made my walk more difficult.” This gives a good description of her shortcut through her neighborhood to get home. Sadly this was the last time Susie would be alive in her neighborhood. Her neighborhood was the average suburb in Pennsylvania.