Presence and Influence of Mama in the Novel Salvage the Bones The novel Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward tell us a story about a 15-year-old African American girl named Esch. She lives with her father and 3 brothers in small bayou town called Bois Sauvage in Mississippi. Unfortunately, Esch is living an unhappy and poor family. Her father has problems with alcohol, and her mother died after her last pregnancy when Esch was only 8 years old. Even though Esch’s mother is dead, her presence is obvious from the very beginning of the story, and she stays present throughout the whole book. Esch constantly compares the present with the past, when her mother was alive. Mama is the only woman that Esch can refer to about feminine issues, among all males surrounding her. Therefore, the most tender memories that Esch keeps in her head are connected with her mother. Mama is an invisible guardian whose lessons still continue to guide and protect all of her children. The first mention about Mama in the novel appears in the fifth sentence of the first chapter. There Esch talks about tennis shoes that Mama bought for them “because they hide the dirt and hold up until they’re beaten soft” (Ward 1). In the same chapter, Esch describes, her brother’s pit bull China, laboring her first litter. Esch contrasts China’s delivery with her mother when she gives a birth to the last child in the family. Esch says, “China is doing is nothing like what Mama did when she had my youngest brother, Junior” (Ward 1). At the same time, when Esch realizes that China has difficulties with delivering the puppies, she suggests that Skeetah, her brother, has to help China push the puppies out. Esch supposes that their mother died because no one helped her to push the baby. The comparison between dog and deceased mother seems inappropriate. Nevertheless, Esch does not have any other females in her family who she can use as an example. This fact stress the Mama’s significance to Esch. Another moment...
Cited: Ward, Jesmyn. Salvage the Bones. New York: Bloomsbury 2011. Print.
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