Love In Jesmyn Ward's Salvage The Bones

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Love is parasitic. Oftentimes perceived positively, it silently renders its host subservient to lust, irrationality, anger, and vengeance. The manipulative Greek sorceress Medea falls victim to this curse in Euripides’ tragedy Medea, where after falling deeply in love, her husband Jason leaves her for another woman. Heartbroken, she goes on a murderous crusade to exact her revenge that even results in the death of her children. Aspects of Medea’s quest are apparent in the relationships in Jesmyn Ward’s coming of age novel centered around Hurricane Katrina, Salvage the Bones. Medea’s enchanting and ruthless tendencies are showcased through Skeetah and his dog China’s unwavering bond through sickness and brutal dog fights; on the contrary,…show more content…
To her dismay, Esch discovers that she is pregnant to Manny, a family friend with skin golden as the Fleece who rejects practically any non-sexual interaction. Her first acknowledgement of the unintended pregnancy is immediately accompanied by a reference to Medea: “Here is someone that I recognize. When Medea falls in love with Jason, it grabs me by the throat. I can see her…. But even with all her power, Jason bends her like a young pine in a hard wind; he makes her double in two. I know her” (Ward 38). Defeated by her feelings for Manny and powerlessness as a woman surrounded by men, Esch idolizes Medea; she covets Medea’s ability to manipulate and destroy. She also sympathizes with her betrayal because no matter how hard she tries, even before he knows about her pregnancy, Manny refuses to have any real relationship with her. Esch’s misery slowly develops into anger that climaxes when she tells Manny he is the father of her child. Unsurprisingly, he denies the possibility and she is “on him like China…. This is Medea wielding the knife. This is Medea cutting” (Ward 203-204). Furious and depressed, like her Greek idol, Esch’s heartbreak culminates in bloodshed. She is able to understand and relate to Medea’s often overshadowed tenderness in the wake of despair, betrayal, and

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