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The Image Of A Strong Family In The Novel "Salvage The Bones" By Jesmyn Ward

In the novel Salvage The Bones, the author, Jesmyn Ward is trying to convey that a strong family stays together through challenging moments and will always support each other.

In chapter 7 of the novel, Manny and Esch were together in the bathroom of the gym where Randall was playing his basketball game. Manny was feeling the body of Esch, he then rest his hands on her stomach and realizes that Esch is pregnant. As he cursed he pushes, almost throws, Esch away and leaves. Esch was devastated, “I’ve crossed the threshold out of the bathroom three times, and each time that I think I am done crying, that I can go back into the game to sit next to my brothers as if nothing has happened, my eyes start leaking and my chest burns, hotter than the bright air with the bees drowsing in the crape myrtle, and I have to go back into the bathroom.” Big Henry sent Junior to go check on Esch, Junior was able to find Esch and they went back to the gym. Once Esch reaches the bleachers, Skeetah notices that something had happened. However, Esch states “I’m fine” (Ward 148).

Skeetah guesses it has something to do with Manny, “Fuck him” (Ward 148). “He spits this at Manny’s back, loud enough for Big Henry to hear. ‘What’s up?’ Big Henry asks. I shake my head and look down. Skeetah slaps the bench with both hands. It echoes loudly. Rico, who was elbowing Manny and talking, his hands like birds, turns at the sounds, smiling to show his gold. Manny shakes his head, but Rico gets up anyway, ascends the stairs two steps at a time, and stops in front of me and Skeetah” (Ward 148). Rico then tells Skeetah that he expects to be given half of China’s littler, but Skeetah tells Rico that half of the litter is dead. Both of them start arguing and the tension escalates.

Skeetah hits Rico and the fight begins. Junior and Esch decide to move away from the danger. Because of the fight, the referee told Randall to leave along with his family. Outside the gym, they were able to settle down and Rico and Skeetah agree to fight China as well as Kilo the next day. If Kilo wins, Rico will be able to take any of the puppies he likes. With this in mind, the reader can tell that Skeetah is great at recognizing whenever Esch is having a problem and he correctly guesses what the problem is. This demonstrates that without thinking twice, Skeetah goes against Manny. Skeetah could not bare seeing his sister upset because of Manny’s fault, and wouldn’t tolerate nothing to happen to Manny.

Indent. As Hurricane Katrina passed through Esch’s place, the family realizes that the house is flooding. They decide to move up to the attic and escape. As time passes, the family feels the house tilting and they realize that the attic is now filling up with water. Randall finds a chainsaw and cuts a hole in the roof just in time. They quickly develop a plan and now each person will have to jump onto the tree trunk and then swim to reach Papa Joseph and Mama Lizbeth’s old house. Once all of them jumped onto the tree, Skeetah asks Esch to swim with him and China to the other house. ‘I’ma swim, break the window. Y’all come in,’ Skeetah says. ‘Hurry,’says Randall. ‘Esch, you come with me!’ Skeetah says. ‘This ain’t the time!’ Daddy yells. ‘This ain’t about the puppies!’ Skeetah squints at me. ‘She too small!’

Daddy hollers. He grabs my free elbow with his good hand. Grips. ‘She’s pregnant’ Skeetah points. Daddy’s face shuts, and he pushes”(Ward 234). Even though her dad pushes her off the tree trunk, he then tries to help her back up. The family was able to get over to the other house’s attic although the puppies didn’t and China was carried away by the hurricane towards the woods. Considering that the rest of Esch’s family were surprised by Skeetah’s statement, they didn’t start questioning or start arguing because they realized that what was important at that moment was to help Esch. It is understandable why her father reacted that way, although it was not necessary. He quickly realized that he made a mistake and helped as best as he could. The whole family worked on helping each other reach the other house’s attic in order to survive the horrible hurricane.

Indent. After the hurricane was over, Esch’s family decides to go see if they can stay with Big Henry since they are not able to stay at their house because of the damage caused by the hurricane. When they arrive at Big Henry’s house, Esch spotted Manny sitting next to Shaliyah. Randall went to talk to Esch, “‘Is it him?’ he whispered. I nodded, looked down at the ground. ‘I knew you had a crush on him, but —’ Randall cleared his throat. ‘I didn’t think he’d do anything about it.’ ‘I wanted to,’ I said. ‘I’m going to beat the shit out of him,’ Randall said, the words whistling out of him.” “‘No, Randall,’ I said. ‘You don’t need to. I already did,” (Ward 244). I believe that the reason why Randall wanted to go against Manny is the same as Skeetah’s. Both of them were mad at Manny for what he has done to Esch. Since Manny denied being the father of the baby that Esch is pregnant with, it seems that she is going to be the only guardian of the child. However, considering the following statement made by Big Henry,, “This baby got plenty daddies,” (Ward 255), Esch is not alone on this and is going to receive help from her family and friends.

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