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“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 in the
two works “The 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
“The 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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