1. Compare the portrayal of Katrina in Salvage the Bones to what you saw of the hurricane in the news. Which aspect of the storm’s devastation does this novel bring to life? What does Esch’s perspective add to your understanding of Katrina’s impact?
When Hurricane Katrina occurred, I was an eleven year-old child with little to no concern about the current events happening around me. Nevertheless, I was still saddened by the hurricane that killed almost 2,000 people and left thousands homeless. The news reported daily about the damages done, and showed all of the people that were in need of help. But through the novel, you really get vivid details of what it was like for people who actually had to sit and wait for the storm to be over. You get to imagine and see the struggle that people had to go through to survive. The Batiste family struggling to get out of their flooded house, getting hurt in the process of getting to safety, and Skeetah losing China to save Esch are displays of the sacrifice and strength it took to overcome this brutal natural disaster. Although this novel is fictional, real people had to endure these things when Hurricane Katrina hit. Esch’s perspective of the storm brought me to the realization of how powerful Katrina was. By going into detail of houses being completely taken off their foundations, and trees being uprooted and blown away, you can imagine how devastating it was for the people. Esch’s perspective also made me realize how the impact of Katrina caused the people to unite and help each other get resources and food. Through the novel, I was able to get a better understanding of the severity of Katrina and imagine the way it affected people by seeing it through someone else’s...
In Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward, the audience is introduced to the struggles of an African American family in Mississippi trying to get everything together before the terrible storm, Hurricane Katrina crashes onto the coast and wipes everything out. This heartfelt novel introduces to the audience the theme of parenthood/motherhood, the role that the absence of a mother/father had on the children, the role of basketball and the affect it had on the family, the role of dog fighting and how it related to the family, and the character analysis of Esche. The loss of a female figure in their lives has changed the family in order for them to replace that role and comfort each other.
To begin with, the theme of parenthood/motherhood is extremely prevalent throughout the novel. The definition of a theme, as it relates to a story, is the central topic, subject, or concept the author is trying to point out. In the novel it is shown that parenthood is both neglectful and brutal with evidence of this all over the novel. Esche’s father is an alcoholic who does not pay hardly any attention to the needs of the family and focuses more on hurricanes than he does on the children which goes hand in hand with the idea of parenthood being neglectful. With the father not paying attention to the kids and with their mother having passed away, the children do not have anyone to show them how to guide themselves through life’s storms and all of...
“It is not that adults produce children, but more importantly that children produce adults” (Peter De Vries). In the novel, Salvage the Bones, Jesmyn Ward takes the readers on a quest through the life of Esch. Esch is only fifteen years old when she realizes that her life is collapsing in on her. She is the only girl in a world full of men; from her drunken father to the love of her life, Manny. Esch’s mother died when she was giving birth to her seven year old brother, Junior, forcing her to take care of this damaged family. Skeetah, one of Esch’s three brothers, is occupied with the care and upkeep of his pit bull, China, and her puppies. Skeetah engages the family in his dog-fights while his friends take interest in Esch at each match or gathering. Her family seems to struggle to find food daily and as the infamous surprise of Hurricane Katrina arrives, Esch battles the realization that she is pregnant. Esch is transformed into an adult through the powerful women in literature, memory, and nature.
Medea is an influential literary character that guides Esch to become a stronger woman. At the beginning of the novel, Esch describes herself as a puny, transparent girl. When Esch characterizes herself she uses the all-mighty Greek Goddess, Medea, to contrast. Ward reveals Esch’s self-image, “…She [Esch] wasn’t like the women in the mythology book, the women who kept me turning the pages: the trickster nymphs, the ruthless...
...FAMU 2012 Freshman Summer Reading Writing Assignment
Dijona Brishae’ Clemons
August 20, 2012
2. Compare the portrayal of Katrina in Salvage the Bones to what you saw of the hurricane in the news. Which aspect of the storm’s devastation does this novel bring to life? What does Esch’s perspective add to your understanding of Katrina’s impact?
When analyzing the horror of Katrina within Ward’s novel Salvage theBones and the actual catastrophe that was broadcasted throughout the media, readers are able understand its true impact. It seems as though Ward brought to light the realness and severity of Katrina rather than just restate the obvious. Ward’s writing is a perfect storytelling of the event— filled with some of her very own personal experiences. For example, the scene in which the character Esch narrates her perspective of the town as she walks the streets with Big Henry and Junior vividly brews out the damage that Katrina had caused. Not only are readers able to comprehend the destruction Katrina caused, but we are able to focus on a particular family. I think that knowing the story of the Batiste family really grabs at the reader’s attention and allows them to understand something other than the political aspect. Ward’s novel Salvage the Bones captures the emotional impact caused by Katrina and highlights a family in need of union. Simultaneously,...
March 13, 2013
Symbolism in “Salvage the Bones” by Jesmyn Ward
Jesmyn Ward, in her novel “Salvage the Bones”, has told the story of a family that lived in Mississippi when the incident of Hurricane Katrina occurred in 2005, getting back to her own memories of the Hurricane which she experienced in De Lisle, Mississippi. With the use of provocative symbolism throughout the novel, Ward has very interestingly narrated how the family suffered through the Hurricane, and how they spent their lives without any concern for the future. This paper probes into the symbolism and metaphors Ward used in the novel.
The greatest symbolism that the reader finds in the novel is Esch’s body. Esch is the eldest sister of her siblings. She gets pregnant with Manny’s child, and the reader finds that she views the world through her bodily existence. She wants to touch the world, see it, hear it, taste it, and smell it, in order to love it. The bodily existence of everything is important to her. She says, “For though I’m small, I know many things/ And my body is an endless eye/ Through which, unfortunately, I see everything” (Ward 66). Esch calls her body an endless eye, with which she sees hunger, poverty, dog fights, devastation, accidents, thefts, and finally, the Hurricane. She has seen how it is being motherless, and now she is experiencing the pregnancy from a man who has fallen...
...What is the role of higher education in America and in what ways does diversity in institutions of higher education benefit the students, campuses and society as a whole? The articles “Benefits of Diversity” and “Higher Education and Children in Immigrant Families” complement and strengthen each other’s argument. The former addresses that diversity in institutions of higher education can benefit members of society and society itself, while the latter asserts that immigrants from foreign countries can create and contribute to diversity and improve society by implementing the education and perspective that they received in college to everyday life. Immigrants can bring diversity to the universities and students, institutions and society can all reap the benefits diversity can provide. Simultaneously, U.S society and economy will potentially improve as more and more immigrants obtain the skills and education necessary to work jobs that are important for the “long-run strength of the U.S economy” (Baum and Flores 52). I will express this relationship by emphasizing the benefits of diversity such as open-mindedness, desegregation of communities, improvement in intellectual development, accelerated work productivity and demand for skilled labor and how these benefits can work together to improve the well being of society. The relationship between these two articles is imperative to understand as it conveys the keys required to ensure a flourishing society in America and to...
January 17, 2015
Jesmyn Wards novel, Savage the Bones, takes place in Bios Savage, in rural Mississippi. The novel consists of twelve days each day being a chapter, all leading up to the massive destruction of hurricane Katrina. The main characters include Junior, age seven; Esch, fifteen; Skeetah, sixteen; and Randall, seventeen. Their Mama died seven years ago when Junior was born. Daddy is around but has a problem with alcohol. They have a pit bull named China, who gives birth to five puppies and is used for prize fighting. The novel is narrated by the character Esch. Having lost her mother and being the only girl in the family beside China, Esch is desperately trying to find herself. Esch began having sex at an early age and now is pregnant believing the father to be Skeetah’s friend, Manny. The relationship is obsolete, Manny uses Esch as a sex object. She’d like him to love her or at least notice her more. But he is with another throughout the novel.
Ward uses metaphors about Greek goddesses to describe Esch and her conflicting feelings. Esch looks to the women in Greek mythology for power and strength in her femininity and sexuality. These are things she is missing in her life. Esch has been sexually active since the age of 12, she is always looking for love in sex. “The pulpy ripe heart. The sticky heart the boys saw through my boyish frame, my dark skin, my plane face. The girly heart that, before...
Jesmyn Ward’s novel, “Salvage the Bones”, is classic tale of a family that re-claims its humanity in the face of infinite loss. Over and over again, there is a shift throughout the book where the family becomes more and more in tuned with each other and begins to shed the weedier parts of their impoverished life. One such example occurs on page 170 and continues to page 171. China is just about to fight Kilo at the dog fights even though she has just had babies and is swollen with milk. Ward uses China as a symbol for Esch and Kilo as a symbol for Manny to display the change in attitude of how Esch is starting to feel towards Manny.
Throughout the book, Esch is always fawning over Manny. She wants his attention, constantly tries to catch his eye, and is always caught up in his magnificence whenever she sees him. However, at the dog fight, the roles are reversed. Esch catches Manny watching her from across the circle, but Esch, giving Manny a taste of his own medicine, doesn’t return the look. I fact, she says it was “easy to narrow” her vision and “avoid” him. This change in attitude is exemplified again when Esch tells herself “she doesn’t care” that Manny wears a sorry look on his face.
The change in attitude is further exemplified by China and Kilo. Esch, who knows Manny is looking at her, stands tall and imagines herself “tall as Medea, wearing purple and green robes, and bones and gold for jewelry”, while...
...By: Jason K.
I enjoy reading Fae Myenne Ng's Bone. I find her novel easy to read and understand. Although she included some phrases the Chinese use, I find no difficulty in understanding them, as I'm Chinese myself. The novel Bone is written in a circular narrative form, in which the story doesn't follow the linear format where the suspense slowly builds up and finally reaches a climax stage. Rather the story's time sequence is thrown back and forth. I find this format of writing brings greater suspense and mystery to the reader. When I read the book, my mind was always wondering what reasons or causes made Ona commit suicide, and this made me want to continue reading the book to know the outcome. The happenings in the story do portray reality of the lives of Chinese immigrants in America, their hardship and difficulty in adapting American lifestyle and culture. For the younger generations, adapting the American culture and lifestyle is much easier than for the older generations. This is shown in the book and it also happens in reality, which is another reason why I like this book. This is a fiction novel, but the story told is like a non-fiction book; giving readers a sense of realism. As a Chinese reading Bone, I understand the narrator's feelings and predicaments. Although she is an Asian, her thinking lies more on the American side. Leila wants to move out to stay with Mason but yet she fears leaving her mother alone and...