Summary Of Jesmyn Ward's Salvage The Bones

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In Salvage the Bones, Jesmyn Ward parallels the mythological story of Medea in order to highlight her representation of women. The use of Medea, who is embodied in various aspects within the three main female characters, allows Ward’s work to obtain a sense of universality to her narrative. Also with this incorporation, Ward is able to change the dominant perspective of “blackness” that has plagued southern literature written by African-American authors. Salvage the Bones occurs in Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, following Esch,who has just found out she is pregnant, and her poor family just days before the catastrophic Hurricane Katrina. Medea, an anti-hero, who succumbs to her own decisions and the demons of love represents a dynamic femininity, rather than the stereotypical aspect of which is what being a female is. Ward is able to show that women are not only powerful but can also be strong, independent yet vulnerable and ferocious. Through Esch, China and Hurricane Katrina with the corresponding Greek mythology, Ward shows her depiction of a women by addressing common stereotypes and rejecting them. Esch most clearly resembles Medea as she continuously relates herself back to the mythological character. Esch explains her…show more content…
Thus Ward is able to address the double edge sword that presents females in stories as “weak” or built upon the “wrath of a woman.” The inclusion of the universality that is associated with Greek mythology allows Ward to shed off the label of blackness from her work. With China, Esch and Katrina all carrying some traits of Medea, it allows the reader to see all aspects of being female from being vulnerable, brave, nurturing and protective. Moreover, Ward insinuates that women should be presented as empowering to one another and through Medea paralleling story Ward articulates her
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