Salvage the Bones Important Quotes

Jesmyn Ward

Salvage the Bones

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Salvage the Bones Important Quotes

  1. “Mama gave birth in the house she bore all of us in, here in this gap in the woods her father cleared and built on that we now call the Pit” (Chapter 1, p. 1).

This description of the Batiste’s house establishes a few different things: the importance of Esch’s mother to the Batiste family, as well as the meager conditions they live in, a place with the derogatory name of “the Pit”.

  1. “At her opening, I see a purplish, red bulb. China is blooming” (Chapter 1, p. 4).

This image of China giving birth to puppies is a reflection of the fruitful side of nature, and compares birth to a flower blooming.

  1. “’She can hold her own. Told you she was going to be a little scrappy scrawny thing—built just like you’” (Chapter 1, p. 6).

Although there are times in the novel where Claude speaks poorly about women, Esch takes this description of herself (and the comparison to her mother) as a compliment. It also speaks to the strength and survival instinct of the book’s narrator.

  1. “ had chunks of skin and flesh crusted over to scabby sores from fighting. When he and China had sex, there was blood on their jaws, on her coat, and instead of loving, it looked like they were fighting” (Chapter 1, p. 8).

This description of China mating serves to illustrate the narrator’s views on the ugly, messy and violent side of nature and sex. Survival means fighting, and China’s puppies were seen as a means of survival for the Batiste family, as they would bring in a promising amount of money for the poor family.

  1. “Manny is always the loudest of them all: his teeth white knives, his face golden red” (Chapter 1, p. 9).

Although this description of Manny by Esch is early on in the novel, when she is still in love with him, the negative imagery associated with him gives the reader a clue to what he is really like. With the description of his knife-like teeth, it isn’t a surprise that later on in the novel his words hurt Esch…

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