The Graveyard Book is the story of a boy growing into a man. It spans most of Bod's childhood and ends when he is old enough to start out on his own. The books traces his growth as it depicts snippets of his life as a toddler, a child, and a teenager. Bod makes mistakes, learns from them, and grows up to be a wise and brave young man.
The Jacks try to kill Bod and his family due to a prophecy. When circumstances shape Bod's life to align with the prophecy, it seems that Bod's fate may controlled by forces beyond his control. In the barrow, however, he discovers that fighting the Jacks will be based on his own choice about his identity, not some uncontrollable fate.
Although Silas and Mr. and Mrs. Owens play the most direct role in raising Bod, the entire graveyard helps in many ways. They all vote in the initial decision to take in Bod. As time goes on, different ghosts provide advice and companionship. In the final showdown against the Jacks, the various inhabitants of the graveyard all play a role in supporting Bod.
THE GRAVEYARD GATE
THE GRAVEYARD BOOK THEMES, MOTIFS, AND SYMBOLS
LADY ON THE GREY
The gate marks the boundary of Bod's existence for most of his childhood. It is a sign both of security and of limitation. The locked gate protects Bod from the dangers of the world. At the same time, however, it also confines him to the graveyard and prevents him from fully enjoying the experiences of the living.
The Lady on the Grey represents death. The suggestion that all humans will eventually "ride her horse" indicates that she represents a kind of spiritual travel from the land of the living to the land of the dead. Her influence over the ghosts in their decision to take in Bod also reflects her power over the dead.