Jesmyn Ward

Salvage the Bones

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Salvage the Bones Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

Chapter 3— The Third Day: Sickness in the Dirt

Esch is suffering with morning sickness and cannot sleep. Alone, she reads from Mythology again, and in it is “someone can recognize” (38). Skeetah brings Esch to see China and the puppies and they find that one puppy isn’t eating. Skeetah tries to bring the puppy to China but she growls and attempts to bite him. Skeetah suspects that the puppy has parvovirus. He chooses to separate the puppy from China and the rest of the litter, to “Make it easy for him till he dies” (41).

Esch and Skeetah head outside with the sick puppy and Junior is suspicious. He threatens to tell Randall that Skeet is going to do something bad to a puppy. Randall challenges Skeet, saying he can still do something about it, but Skeet has resolved to kill the puppy, because the other puppies will get sick if they don’t get rid of it. Esch goes along with him to the Pit.

Esch and Skeet head out into the woods and Skeetah shoots at a squirrel. He tells Esch that she and Manny “don’t look right together”, Esch protests, but only in her mind. Marquise and Big Henry show up later and they have sandwiches made of squirrel meat and hot sauce. Esch eats gingerly so as to not vomit again and make them suspicious. She doesn’t want to have to lie. The puppy is still with them and Skeet asks Esch if she wants to name it. It’s a girl. Esch names her “Nella”.

Randall and Manny arrive and they ask Skeet how and when he’s going to kill the puppy. Randall talks about how their mother killed chickens. She twisted their necks, true and swift. Later, assured by Randall’s advice, Skeetah kills the puppy: “Through the trees, there is a new moon, and Nella is singing to it…When Skeet grabs and twists, his hands are as sure as Mama’s” (52).

Later, all of them head to the Pit to wash, each of them stripping down naked to get in the water. While everyone else is distracted, Manny…

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