Wisdom In Jesmyn Ward's Salvage The Bones

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“For though I'm small, I know many things, and my body is an endless eye through which, unfortunately, I see everything.”- Gloria Fuertes We are born learning. Those lessons learned in one’s youth are the most difficult and the most influential. In Jesmyn Ward’s novel, Salvage the Bones, Ward illustrates that wisdom does not necessarily come with age. The mistakes that Esch makes leaves her vulnerable to disappointment and suffering at a time in her life when she should be enjoying no responsibilities and not having to make life altering decisions. Although Esch eventually achieves wisdom after the hurricane, she pays a substantial price for having lived her life blindly. From lust to suffering and to learning…show more content…
It is amazing that only through great hardships, such as Esch having to fight Manny and her finding out that she is pregnant, could she receive true insight. Unfortunately, Esch’s blindness cost her her childhood and possibly a natural relationship with someone her own age. Blindness can normally be defined as the inability of one to see, but according to Fuertes and Ward, blindness is not only a physical impairment, but also a “mental flaw” that can consume someone and can be rather “unfortunate”. One of Ward's more subtle themes in her novel, Salvage the Bones, is that of blindness. Esch, the main character and heroine of the award-winning novel by Jesmyn Ward that portrays the life of a rural Mississippi family before, after, and during Hurricane Katrina, embodies Ward’s theme of subconscious blindness, by showing it to be the primary cause of Esch’s bad decisions and self-loathing. People can be “blinded” to the truth, especially in regards to Esch in Salvage the Bones. The answer to her questions, such as those pertaining to if Manny really cared for her or if there will come a day when she fully understands the relationship between Skeetah and China.
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