The Weight of Blood: Hope From a Butterfly Necklace
(Essay Date: June 11, 2015; This criticism examines the hope given to Lucy in her quest to find more about the murder of her best friend with a butterfly necklace.)


In The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh, the blue butterfly necklace given to Cheri from Lucy began as a symbol of their friendship, but its meaning changed after Cheri’s disappearance and death.

The necklace began their friendship after they met at the bus stop. Once Lucy gave Cheri the necklace and she began wearing it everyday, they became close and inseparable. With living in a trailer park and not having many personal items, the necklace became one of Cheri’s most prized possessions. After Cheri disappeared, so did the necklace and their friendship. The picture used in all of her disappearance ads showed her wearing the butterfly necklace. “And in the hollow of Cheri’s throat, for the world to see, the blue butterfly, the symbol of our friendship” (94 McHugh).

Eventually, when Cheri’s mutilated body was found, she necklace was not with her. The murder scene was the talk of the town for years, but the mystery never being solved left Lucy with an undying curiosity. After searching through an abandoned trailer, Lucy finds Cheri’s necklace and it fills her with hope. “I clutched the necklace in my palm and sank to the floor, my heart thudding. Had she been here, in this trailer, in this room?” (40). The mystery of “What happened to Cheri?” was reopened and the possibilities of the path that ended Cheri’s life filled Lucy’s head. The butterfly necklace was now a symbol of hope for finding answers. Cheri’s necklace kept Lucy wanting to bring Cheri’s death justice because of the guilt she had over her death.

Once discovering a connection between Cheri’s death and Lucy’s mom, the case was finally put to rest. The butterfly necklace Lucy stayed up at night thinking about became an object of peace and justice. “I unhooked the clasp and rose to place the necklace with the flowers. I’m sorry, I whispered. For everything. I hoped that somehow she could hear me” (301). Cheri was put to rest with her necklace and Lucy found peace with the truth.

(A.J. 2015)