Salvage the Bones

Salvage the Bones, by Jesmyn Ward, has got to be the most beautiful book I have EVER read. It oozes female empowerment. My favorite passage comes at a part that really upsets me. Skeetah is readying his dog, China, for a dog fight:
“He is reciting something, and he is saying it so fast that it sounds like he is signing it. China White, he breathes, my China. Like bleach, China, hitting and turning them red and white, China. Like coca, China, so hard they breathe you up and they nose bleed, China. Make them runny, China, make insides outsides, China, make them think they snorted the razor, China. Leave them shaking, China, make them love you China, make them need you, China, make them know even though they want to they can’t live without you, China. My China, he mumbles: make them know, make them know, make them know.”

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Throughout the novel, Ward draws similiarities between China, an all white pit bull who has just given birth to puppies, and Esch, the female protagonist who, at fifteen, has just discovered she is pregnant. Both females learn how to “make them know” in this novel about hurricane Katrina. China, Esch and Katrina wreck devastation and wield strength in a way that few female characters do.

My winter project might be to read Mythology by Edith Hamilton and then reread Salvage the Bones. Esch is reading Mythology in class, and she compares herself to Medea, a comparison that I do not get, and I want to.

-A

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