Reading Questions for Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
11. Discuss the setting of Salvage the Bones. How does the Pit—the lot where the Batiste family has lived for generations—look and feel? What is it like to grow up in the town of Bois Sauvage? What are race relations like in this rural Mississippi area?
12. Review the scenes of the hurricane, in which Esch, her brothers and Daddy scramble from their attic to their roof and then to Mother Lizbeth and Papa Joseph's house to escape the rising water. How do these family members help one another survive these treacherous conditions? Why does Daddy throw Esch into the water, and how does he later express regret?
13. Skeetah lets go of China in order to save Esch from drowning in the storm. Does Skeetah seem to regret his choice of sister over dog? What is the mood at the end of the novel as Skeetah waits by the house for China to return to him?
14. Big Henry tells Esch, "This baby got plenty of daddies" (255). Name the "daddies" who will help Esch raise her child. What assistance does each of these boys and men have to offer?
15. Compare the portrayal of Katrina in Salvage the Bones with what you saw of the hurricane in the news. Which aspects of the storm's devastation does this novel bring to life? What does Esch's perspective add to your understanding of Katrina's impact?
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