Mr. George Harvey was a sexual predator, rapist, and serial killer. He is the 36-year-old neighbor who rapes and murders Susie, within minutes of her own home. He was killed when an icicle fell on his shoulder and he fell down a ravine which broke every bone in his body.
Mr. Harvey is a sexual predator, a rapist and a serial killer. He's the 36-year-old neighbor who rapes and murders Susie, within minutes of her own home. Although indispensable to the novel, his story is always secondary to the stories of Susie and her loved ones. After Mr. Harvey leaves Susie's suburban neighborhood, she doesn't watch him as closely, unless he's thinking about Lindsey, or moving back toward her family. Susie is subtle but clear that he carries on his brutalities after her death, but if she sees his hideous acts, she doesn't do much reporting back on them.
It's a much-noted fact that Harvey is revealed as Susie's killer from the first pages. This is a powerful use of dramatic irony. The readers are Susie's confidants, privy to the secret she wishes wasn't secret. We watch along with her in suspense for Harvey's guilt to be made known. Susie's constant use of the title "Mr." to refer to her rapist is disconcerting, but it pushes home the point that she viewed him as an authority figure, someone to be trusted, and if not trusted, obeyed.
Early Life and DeathEdit
Susie can see into Harvey's past and she tells us some of what she sees. We learn that his mother was a desperate woman who taught Harvey to shoplift and even rob victims of roadside fatalities from alongside the road. At some point Harvey's father abandons his mother in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. His family, before and after his mother disappears from it, seems pretty transient.
As a kid, Harvey is ashamed that his father doesn't have a 'normal' job. He can't tell people that his father "[works] in the desert [building] shacks of broken glass and old wood" (8.3). Still his father passes along his knowledge of building to his son. We can see that Harvey's father is an abusive person, but are not provided with details.
We can say, with certainty, that Harvey's childhood was almost the complete opposite of Susie's. In Harvey we see a yearning for an idealized home, and family, in his chosen profession: building dollhouses, idealized homes in miniature. His success gives him what his father's building couldn't, financial security. Harvey makes enough to buy that family home in the suburbs, but does not have any intention of filling it with a family of his own. Rather, it becomes the disguise which allows him to infiltrate the world he covets.
There are lots of allusions to Othello in the novel. Othello, unlike Harvey, is a largely sympathetic character, whose jealousy is fanned by the evil Iago, until he allows it to overcome him, and he murders his beloved wife. Since none of the other characters in The Lovely Bones exhibit jealousy or murderous tendencies, we can think of the allusions as clues pointing to jealousy as a motivator for Harvey's hideous behavior. He can't have the idealized, loving home and family, so he builds structures that let him infiltrate and attack it.
After Mr. George Harvey got rid of Susie's body by dumping it down a big sinkhole and filling it with cement, about six months later, George Harvey tried to encounter another young woman by saying that he will take the girl wherever she wanted to go. The girl said that she was not interested, he then responded by saying that it is not safe for a young lady to be walking around in the cold like that, she then fired back at him saying "piss off". George Harvey was in shock. A large icicle then falls on his shoulder and as he tries to shake it off, he ends up falling down the ravine and he broke his back and neck on a tree, killing him instantly and brutally.