In today’s lesson we will: Analyse chapter nine of the text in relation to: plot characterisation theme: Grief and Loss theme: Growing Up / Coming of Age theme: Isolation symbolism
Plot Discuss briefly with your partner the main events of chapter nine. Check that your chapter summary notes include all relevant information.
Characterisation: Grandma Lynn When Grandmother Lynn arrives in Chapter Nine, the reader is amazed by the eccentricity and richness of this new important figure. Re-read pages 98-100. What are your first impressions of Lynn and what do you think helped you to form these impressions?
Characterisation: Grandma Lynn Discussion points: What impression of Grandma Lynn are we given by her description of her “thick and fabulous animal”? 2. “She was, in all her obnoxious finery…” 3. Describe the relationship between Abigail and Lynn. 4. What do we learn about Grandma Lynn by the inclusion of the detail that she went to the memorial without make up on?
Characterisation: Grandma Lynn Grandmother Lynn does everything bad: she drinks too much, she tries to get her granddaughters to use drugs to stay thin, she is overbearing and obnoxious, but as Susie notes, when she arrives at their house, she brings the light back in. She makes Abigail sit down after dinner and uses her “bag o’magic” (makeup) to do a makeover. She also agrees to teach Lindsey about makeup.
Characterisation: Grandma Lynn Even Jack comes in to watch and talks to Lindsey about her friend, Clarissa, who is hanging around Brian Nelson, a bad influence. Grandmother Lynn is so intuitive about her family that she even knows that Lindsey has a boyfriend. She then proceeds to make Lindsey look like “a grade-A ‘tute,” while she and Jack get happily sloshed. In heaven, Susie suddenly likes Grandma Lynn.
Importance of Grandma Lynn Grandma Lynn is exactly what the family needs to help them begin to live again. She pushes them to face reality, somehow finding a way through their grief.
Characterisation: Lindsey Grandma Lynn gives Lindsey a makeover that helps her separate herself from her dead sister. Later, Lindsey stares at the face Grandma Lynn has created in the mirror in her bedroom. Susie knows that her sister is beginning to see something different: an adult, who can take care of herself.
Characterisation: Lindsey She also sees the edges of her features delineated, sitting on “her face like gems imported from some far-off place where the colors were richer than the colors in our house had ever been.”
Characterisation: Lindsey When Mr Harvey locks eyes with Lindsey, she passes out, because subconsciously, she must know her father is right. This foreshadows her willingness later to help her father search Harvey’s house.
Characterisation: Mr Harvey Mr. Harvey’s appearance at the memorial is the most arrogance he shown since Mr. Salmon began to suspect him.
Theme: Growing Up / Coming of Age Grandma Lynn is exactly what the family needs to help them begin to live again. She pushes them to face reality, somehow finding a way through their grief. Susie’s memory of Mrs. Utemeyer is related, because her only sense of dead people, before she herself dies, is Mrs. Utemeyer’s body at the funeral home. She suddenly sees her as a real person who grieved for her daughter who died as a young girl.
Theme: Growing Up/ Coming of Age Later, Lindsey stares at the face Grandma Lynn has created in the mirror in her bedroom. Susie knows that her sister is beginning to see something different: an adult, who can take care of herself.
Theme: Isolation The wedge that Susie’s death has placed in her parents’ relationship is all too apparent by the fact that Jack aches for Abigail when she’s asleep, but can’t even look at her when they are awake. The fact that he thinks of the memorial as “an honest day “ indicates that the family is being dishonest with themselves, especially he and Abigail. This is further emphasised by Susie who comments that her father tells an “odd” lie when he tells Clarissa that he and Abigail are doing fine.
Theme: Grief and Loss Abigail has finally entered the second stage of grief when she focuses on Clarissa for being alive while Susie is not. Fortunately, Clarissa doesn’t comment on the dress Lindsey is wearing which, no doubt, prevents Abigail’s anger from spilling out.
Symbolism : Bag O’ Magic Grandmother Lynn’s bag of makeup represents a respite from the grief of Susie’s death.
Symbolism: Susie’s bedroom For every member of her family, this symbolises a place where she is still alive.
Symbolism: Funeral A funeral is a symbolic demarcation, a time when the community lets go of the deceased and, ideally, the dead person moves on. Susie’s funeral also marks other things specific to this family. Both the police and Susie's killer attend the funeral, marking it as unfinished and unnatural.