Salvage the Bones Chapter 12 Summary & Analysis

Jesmyn Ward

Salvage the Bones

  • 31-page comprehensive study guide
  • Features 12 chapter summaries and 6 sections of expert analysis
  • Written by a high school English teacher with over 10 years of experience
Access Full Summary

Salvage the Bones Chapter 12 Summary & Analysis

Chapter 12— The Twelfth Day: Alive

The Batiste family sits in the open attic until the waters subside. Although they are alive, Skeet is miserable saying he “failed” China. Esch reminds him that he didn’t fail them. Skeetah scans the area for China as the water starts to recede. He notices the tractor and decides that “when gets to the middle of the tires” he’s going to look for China (239). As soon as he could see the tires, he leaves. No one tries to stop him.

The whole yard and the house are waterlogged and uninhabitable. Randall suggests that they go towards Big Henry’s place to find shelter. Daddy agrees. Randall reassures him that they could fix things.

On their way through Bois Sauvages they see the destruction wreaked by the hurricane: “Every house had faced the hurricane, and every house had lost” (242). They watch as the survivors repeat “alive alive alive” (242). Marquise says he saw Skeetah staying by the house in case China comes back.

Big Henry takes them into St. Catherine to look at the wreckage. What used to be the school where Randall played basketball just a few days before is gone. They make their way to a liquor store and think of their dad. They climb in and carry out about five different bottles of liquor. In a moment alone with Esch, Big Henry tells her that he overheard her talk with her dad about being pregnant. She tells him that the baby doesn’t have a daddy. Big Henry says she is wrong because “this baby got plenty daddies…don’t forget you always got me” (255).

When they make it home, Skeetah is there. He has built a big fire and “has found China’s things” (256). As always, Skeetah has faith that China is “going to come back to ” (258).

Chapter 12 Analysis:

When the chapter opens, Esch is comforting Skeet as he fears that he has lost China.  While hugging him, she thinks that her “arms had never been so strong” (238). She also directly contrasts this act of affection and support to the way she…

This is just a preview. The entire section has 420 words. Click below to download the full study guide for Salvage the Bones.