Jesmyn Ward

Salvage the Bones

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Salvage the Bones Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

Chapter 7—The Seventh Day: Game Dogs and Game Men

Leaving Skeetah behind with China, the rest of the family takes Claude to the hospital. When Esch woke up in the morning, Skeetah was gone and had taken China with him.

Esch takes soup to her father while he is lying in bed. She helps him catch the local news that brings details of the storm. In broken phrases from the television static, there is advice about storm preparations and possible evacuation. “Preparation…key”, the TV says. When Skeetah returns home, he tells Esch that China forgot who she was yesterday. He vows to keep China on the chain and away from the puppies “as long as it takes” (138). He tells Esch that while the puppies feed from China, he holds her muzzle shut. “Every time she move her head toward them, I pop her on her nose…This ain’t beating me.” (142)

On her way to the bathroom, Esch runs into Rico, Manny’s cousin. Manny meets her in the bathroom and closes the door behind him. They proceed to have frantic sex. Esch tries to force Manny to look her in the eye. He feels her stomach and knows that she is pregnant. He yells, pushes her off and leaves her in the bathroom. Esch is very upset and finds it hard to leave the bathroom and face her brothers.

When Esch joins them back in the gym, Skeetah knows that Esch is upset because of Manny. “Fuck him” he says to her, pointedly trying to give her strength. Manny and Rico come over and question Skeet about the puppies and he aggressively shouts at them, purposefully trying to upset Manny. It doesn’t take much for Skeet to punch Rico. Manny, Big Henry and Marquise all get involved in the scuffle. Randall gets thrown out of the game because of the brawl caused by “his people”. Rico challenges China to fight his dog, Kilo, but of course, because she just had puppies, she can’t fight. Marquise offers his cousin’s dog Boss to fight for China. If Boss wins, Rico goes away. If Kilo wins,…

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