‘He looks like nobody but himself,’ said Mrs. Owens, firmly. ‘He looks like nobody.’
This moment in Chapter 1 emphasizes the beginning of Bod’s coming-of-age journey as his identity is established within the graveyard. Mrs. Owens rejects many suggestions to name Bod after someone else and asserts his right to be only himself. Even though she never had the children she wished for in life, she shows an understanding of what it means to have a child by insisting he have his own identity. She accepts Bod as he finds him and raises him to be true to the unique person he is. His name suits him as someone who grows up straddling both the world of the dead and that of the living. In the climactic scene of the novel, Bod rejects Jack’s offer to tell him his birth name, instead embracing his identity as Nobody Owens, demonstrating that Mrs. Owens’ motherly intuition and protection helped him develop his own unique identity.
Scarlett said to Bod, ‘You’re brave. You are the bravest person I know, and you’re my friend.’
Scarlett’s parting speech to Bod at the end of Chapter 2 both illustrates their present relationship and foreshadows their future reconnection as teens. They have an unusually strong bond of trust which makes it possible for Bod to protect Scarlett from the Sleer. After the confrontation with the Sleer, Scarlett’s trust in Bod grows. She feels such strong loyalty to him that she wants to remain his friend whether he is imaginary or real. Scarlett’s ability to see Bod as brave and strong is also significant because she is his first living friend and her praise of him demonstrates their shared values of courage. Her emphasis on their friendship also shows that she has the characteristic of loyalty. Scarlett’s prediction comes true: she remains Bod’s friend even when she believes he doesn’t exist. When they meet again, her relief that Bod truly exists demonstrates that their friendship has endured throughout the years.
‘I want to see life. I want to hold it in my hands. I want to leave a footprint on the sand of a desert island. I want to play football with people. I want,’” he said, and then he paused and he thought. ‘I want everything.’
In this speech in Chapter 8, Bod demonstrates the outcome of his upbringing in the graveyard and the final steps in his coming-of-age journey. After defeating his enemies, Bod makes a choice to enter the outside world and take his place among the living. In a way, everything that happened from his adoption until this moment has been outside of time as he has grown and matured, but he has not lived in the everyday world. Now he elects to enter that world and experience what it has to offer. The contrast between wanting to leave a footprint on an island like Robinson Crusoe, an adventurous action, and wanting to play football, a very common activity, shows that Bod has been missing out on all aspects of human life, both big and small. Now he will act fully on his desire to experience life and because he has fully chosen the living world, he must leave the graveyard, completing his growth from child to young man.