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Kelso High School English Department
In today’s lesson we will: Learn about the historical context of the novel. Learn about the author Alice Sebold. Discuss the way we will study the novel. Read Chapter One of the text.
Historical Context Written in the late 1990s the novel reflects the various concerns of Americans at this time: Domestic violence Sexual Violence Teen violence – e.g. 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.
Historical Context Certainly Sebold alludes to the frequency of child kidnappings in the first chapter when she mentions that they are now so common that lost children are profiled on milk cartons.
However: Back when the novel was set in the 1970s such crimes were not so common: “This was before kids of all races and genders started appearing on milk cartons or in the daily mail. It was still back when people believed things like that didn’t happen.”
Historical Context: Women’s Movement In the 1970s people began to question the traditional gender roles of men and women. This is illustrated in the novel through: Abigail: who feels discontented in her role as a wife and a mother Ruth: who overtly embodies the feminism of the 1970s with her refusal to conform to expected feminine behaviour and dress.
Historical Context: Suburbanisation of America Another 1970s concern was the suburbanisation of America. Susie often refers to the “identical” houses in her suburb and Grandma Lynn cannot believe that her daughter chose to love in a souless suburban dwelling.
The author: Alice Sebold
Alice Sebold: Alice Sebold (born September 6, 1963) is an American novelist. She has published three books: Lucky (1999), The Lovely Bones (2002) and The Almost Moon (2007).LuckyThe Lovely BonesThe Almost Moon
Author Facts: When she was an 18-year-old freshman at Syracuse University, Sebold was brutally beaten and raped near campus. After her recovery, she returned to Syracuse where she recognised her attacker and had him arrested. Her memoir, Lucky, is about this attack. The title comes from her experience of being told by the police that she was “lucky” to be alive since another woman had been killed in the same area where Sebold was assaulted.
The Lovely Bones
“My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was 14 when I was murdered on December 6, 1973,” so begins The Lovely Bones, one of the best-reviewed novels of the decade.The Lovely Bones The book quickly became an unprecedented international bestseller, with translations in over 45 languages and American sales alone of over five million copies. In 2009 it was chosen by the Young Adult Library Association as one of its recommended titles for all students (the list is revised every five years and used by educators and librarians across the United States).