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Home / Regular Issue / JSSH Vol. 31 (1) Mar. 2023 / JSSH-8739-2022


A Narrative Structure Analysis of Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones

Shahid Ahmad

Pertanika Journal of Social Science and Humanities, Volume 31, Issue 1, March 2023


Keywords: Narrative analysis, rape, stylistics, transitivity system, trauma

Published on: 17 March 2023

This article analyses how rape narratives provide insights into the conceptualization of rape, trauma, abuse, and recovery of rape victims. Using William Labov’s theoretical model of narrative structure analysis and Michael Halliday’s transitivity system, the article examines Alice Sebold’s rape narrative, The Lovely Bones (henceforth TLB). The analysis shows that the narrative structure of rape narratives helps understand deeper meanings and underpinned concepts of rape. Such meanings and concepts reveal the real horrors of rape, the gravity of the pain and suffering of rape victims, and the ways of their eventual recovery. Despite its limitations to only TLB, the article offers potential alternative approaches to examine rape narratives to uncover the deeper meanings and suggests new concepts of rape and sexual violence affecting the perspectives to be taken while dealing with rape in general and rape victims being women and children in particular.

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