Salvage The Bones By Jesmyn Ward: A Thematic Analysis

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“I glanced at his face, the sweat like glaze. Another me would’ve licked it off, and it would’ve tasted like salt.” (Ward 34) Desire can run deep in every teenage girl’s thoughts and actions when falling for the older boy that seems so close and yet so far. Whether it’s from blinded love, deep infatuation, or hypnotic adoration, the first love is sometimes more than a person can bear. At times love is irrational and does not always equal common sense, especially when considering your first love. In Salvage the Bones, Jesmyn Ward shows how a first love can pull a person so far under its spell and make ones thoughts revolve around the idea of love even if it isn’t always reciprocated. This is where we often find our main character Esch, a 15…show more content…
It can bring such bliss to one’s life, but it has the potential to cripple the strongest of beings. This is more apparent than ever during your adolescent years. During this magnificent and most eventful time in a young person’s life, feelings primarily that are led by hormonal changes make everything seem more amplified. Teenage boys and girls fall head over heels for their first time in a way that can almost be eerily similar to an addiction. It’s a drug that needn’t be swallowed or ingested. It can deliver a high as potent as any drug available. Experiences that occur during the teenage years are often new and foreign to them. But more than that, they can be truly influential. This is what makes a feeling like love all the more meaningful and formidable. Esch sees Manny in such light. To her, Manny is literally and figuratively the sun in an otherwise dark and ominous setting. He is gold in her eyes. His mere presence is both suffocating and refreshing in ways love can sometimes be. Ward provides the reader with this throughout the book, especially when Esch makes the statement, “I turned around to leave and saw gold. Manny.” (Ward 33) Her description of Manny expresses her deep desire and longing for this boy. Whether it is his golden tan skin or the glittering scars on his face, his appeal is all consuming when he is around her. She dreams about being touched by Manny, about receiving his affection. Although Esch would not be described…show more content…
When it is shared among two individuals, everything can seem right in the world. But love is a powerful entity as well. Its drug like effect can create envy and jealousy, irrational behavior, and it can make life miserable when it isn’t reciprocated. Esch’s growth throughout the book - from her first love, to being rejected, and to realizing that love surrounds her by way of family – shows that first love isn’t everything. Love can come from more than just a major crush on a boy. It can come from family, from within one’s self. It can be expressed by actions rather than words. It can be displayed by standing up for family members when they require it the
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