“Emotions his father to avenge his death. In

            “Emotions are like waves.  You cannot stop them from coming but you can
decide which ones to surf”.  As
described in this quote, we cannot delete our emotions but if we learn to surf
the waves of our emotions and manage our thoughts and feel our feelings, we
will be able to deal better with the difficult situations in life. Grief is the
conflicting and strong emotion caused by the end of or change in a familiar
pattern of  behaviour.  Each
individual deals with grief in very different ways.  In Alice Sebold’s “The Lovely
Bones” and William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, the main theme and
emotion portrayed throughout the two works is grief with the intent of revenge. In Alice Sebold’s “The Lovely Bones”, the
Salmon family find it difficult to grieve the murder of their daughter and sister
Susie Salmon and hope to bring justice for her death.  In William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”,
the protagonist Hamlet is in the process of grieving the death of his father
and is planning a revenge plot against the person who murdered his father to
avenge his death.  In “The
Lovely Bones” and  “Hamlet”, both works show similarities
in how the characters deal with the emotions of grief and seeking revenge
throughout the journey of their lives. 

            “My name is Salmon, like
the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered” (Sebold.1.5).  Alice Sebold’s thrilling novel is
about the murder of fourteen year old Susie Salmon who is adjusting to life in
heaven. Throughout the novel, the theme of grief is evident in both the story
line and characters.  Susie Salmon has a hard
time understanding that she is dead and she grieves because she is not part of
the world anymore.  She watches over people
talking about her murder, her murderer hiding from police and her family
grieving her sudden death.  In the end, Susie
realizes that life on earth continues even though she is dead and cannot live anymore
. The theme of grief is portrayed in different ways throughout the book by the
Salmon family as they mourn the loss of Susie. The Salmon family are in the
grieving process while they search for answers and try to figure out who is
Susie’s murderer. The Salmon parents find it difficult to go on with life
without their daughter and find it challenging to accept their loss coping with
grief differently. Jack Salmon, Susie’s father, is so preoccupied with feeling guilty
and helpless that he forgets to love his living children, Lindsey and Buckley. Jack’s
focus was to avenge Susie’s death by finding her killer. Abigail Salmon,
Susie’s mother, deals with grief by denial and not wanting to face Susie’s death.
She pulls away from her family and leaves them. Another character that finds it
difficult to accept Susie’s death is Lindsey Salmon.  Lindsey is Susie’s younger sister.  Lindsey was very distraught to hear that her
sister had been murdered.  She did not
speak to anyone for a while and found it hard to grieve for her sister because
she felt that her sister’s death wasn’t real. 
Throughout the book, Lindsey gained her strength back and wanted to
bring justice for her sister’s death by trying to find the murderer.  Lindsey was convinced that their next door neighbour
Mr. Harvey was the one who murdered Susie. 
She spoke to her parents and police about her feelings but they
disregarded her accusations for lack of evidence. To prove this, Lindsey broke
into Mr. Harvey’s house to look for any evidence to convict him of the
crime.  While searching through his
belongings Lindsey found a book with photos of past women and girls he murdered
and Susie’s photo was in the book with a piece of her hair.  Lindsey showed her parents the book and gave
the evidence to the police. After this, Mr. Harvey disappeared and later we
find out that he had died by slipping off a cliff after a falling icicle hits
him. Earlier in the novel Susie foreshadowed this event by stating  “In heaven, “How to Commit the
Perfect Murder” was an old game. I always chose the icicle: the weapon
melts away”. (Sebold.139).  The Salmon family felt a sigh of relieve when
Mr. Harvey was killed because his death brought justice and avenged the death
of their daughter and sister.  As well,
Susie was relieved with his death because she was able to rest in peace and not
be haunted by the nightmares of her murderer. 

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            The death of a family member is a hard
time for people and grief affects everyone in different ways. In William
Shakespeare’s tragedy “Hamlet”, grief is a common theme felt by the
characters from the beginning of the play and each character reacts differently
to it. The play, “Hamlet” is the journey of Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark,
who returns home after hearing  that his
father had been murdered.  Hamlet is
devastated that his father is gone and grieves his father’s loss badly.  He shows how much sorrow he feels inside by
stating ” For they are the actions that a man might
play, But I have that within which passes show, These but the trappings and the
suits of woe.” (Hamlet 1.2.84-86). When Hamlet
returned home, he was shocked to find out that his mother remarried his uncle
Claudius, his father’s brother.  Hamlet
was disgusted by his mother’s decision to marry Claudius and thought the
relationship between the two was incest. 
Throughout Hamlet’s stay in Denmark, the ghost of his dead father appears
to him and tells him that he was murdered by Claudius. This causes Hamlet to
become crazy and behave irrationally. As Hamlet realizes all the events
happening in his life he states  “O, that this too too sullied flesh would melt, Thaw and resolve itself into a dew, Or that the Everlasting had not fixed His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter! O God, God, How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable.  Seem to me all the uses of this world”(Hamlet
1.2 133-138).  Hamlet uses his fake
acting madness to distract people while he plans out a revenge plot against
Claudius in order to avenge his father’s death. Hamlet’s grief started
his plan for revenge and goal to kill Claudius hoping that this would help him
get over his father’s death. Hamlet also realizes that he is alone in his grief
because he gets no comfort from his mother, Queen Gertrude. Queen Gertrude tells
Hamlet that death is part of life and does not feel sorry with her son and
tells him, “Thou know’st ’tis common – all that lives must die … (Hamlet
1.2.71). Queen Gertrude chose to deal with death and grief by not dealing with
it and moved on by marrying Hamlet’s uncle. This shows that she did not seem to
care about her husband’s death.  In contrast,
Ophelia feels grief for Hamlet because she
thinks that Hamlet has become mad and completely lost his sanity after his
father’s death causing him to become distant from her.  Ophelia believes that Hamlet has lost his
sanity when he lashes out and states “He took me by the wrist and held me
hard. Then goes he to the length of all
his arm, And, with his other hand thus
o’er his brow, He falls to such perusal
of my face As he would draw it. Long
stayed he so. At last, a little shaking
of mine arm, And thrice his head thus
waving up and down”(Hamlet 2.1 87-94).  Later in the
play Ophelia goes crazy after her own father’s death.  She had to deal with her father’s  death and deal with the fact that her love,
Hamlet, killed her father because he had also gone mad.  In the end, Ophelia’s grief took over her and
also caused her death by her falling from a tree believed to have been suicide.

            The theme of grief is evident
between the two works “Lovely Bones” and “Hamlet”.  Grief is a common theme
in these two tragedies due to the constant sense of death throughout them. There are both similarities and differences in each
work on how the characters react to grief in their life situations.  The first similarity between the two works is
that grief is the tragic result of a loss of a close family member through the
violent act of murder.  Both King Hamlet
and Susie Salmon were killed. Secondly, some characters in both works react
similarly to grief. This is seen through the way Jack Salmon, Abigail
Salmon, Hamlet and Queen Gertrude react to death.  Jack Salmon and Hamlet experienced anger and
difficulty dealing with their loss. Both were devastated and showed emotional
outbursts. Abigail Salmon and Queen Gertrude experienced denial and chose to
not deal with grief. Abigail abandoned her family and Queen Gertrude moved on
with her life marrying Claudius. Another similarity between the two works is
that grief starts a mission of revenge. Jack Salmon and Hamlet wanted to avenge
the death of their loved one by seeking revenge on their killers. They were obsessed
with this mission and were committed to the same outcome. Aside from the similarities between the works, the main
difference between the two works is the way that the murderers were killed. The
grief felt by Jack and Hamlet impacted their actions throughout the story.
Hamlet grieves throughout the play and takes action by dealing with three
revenge plots to seek revenge for his father’s death. Hamlet kills the
murderer, Claudius, and two other characters Polonius,
and Laertes. On the other hand, Jack was frustrated throughout the story
because he knew the truth of his daughter’s murderer and could not do anything.
Jack believed that the police were not doing enough to find the murderer. Ironically,
the murderer was killed by slipping off a cliff after a falling icicle hit him
while trying to capture another victim.

             In “The Lovely Bones” and  “Hamlet”, both works show
similarities in how the characters deal with the emotions of grief and seek
revenge throughout the journey of their lives. 
In Alice Sebold’s, “The Lovely
Bones”, the Salmon family wanted revenge and justice against the murderer
who was their neighbour Mr. Harvey.  At
the end of the novel Mr. Harvey did die bringing the family closure.  Also, the victim Susie Salmon was able to
rest peacefully in heaven knowing that her murderer could no longer harm more
innocent girls or haunt her nightmares. 
In William Shakespeare’s, “Hamlet”,  Hamlet wanted to avenge his father’s death by
killing Claudius who murdered his father. 
Throughout the play, Hamlet planned his revenge plot against Claudius
while distracting people that he had lost his sanity after losing his father.  Later, Hamlet killed Claudius with a poisoned
sword and made him drink a glass of poisoned wine for the death of his father.  After knowing that Claudius was dead, Hamlet
was relieved that he had avenged his father’s death and that his father’s soul
may rest in peace. All characters in “Lovely
Bones” and “Hamlet” may be different but they are all connected
and similar to the emotion of grief. Grief is difficult to avoid but if
we learn to surf the waves of our emotions and manage our thoughts and feel our
feelings, we will be able to deal better with the difficult situations in life. 

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