Salvage the Bones

by

Jesmyn Ward

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Manny Character Analysis

A local boy who is a little bit older than Randall and Skeetah. Manny is the loudest of Randall and Skeetah’s friends, and the most gregarious; Esch loves Manny from afar, but he does not return her affections. She is carrying his child, and when she reveals this fact to him, he states that he wants nothing to do with her. Esch, who has been pining for Manny for the duration of the novel, physically attacks him, alienating him even further but demonstrating her fierce unwillingness to be overlooked. Manny is smooth, suave, and unemotional, a self-absorbed and immature player.

Manny Quotes in Salvage the Bones

The Salvage the Bones quotes below are all either spoken by Manny or refer to Manny. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bloomsbury edition of Salvage the Bones published in 2011.
The Third Day: Sickness in the Dirt Quotes

In Mythology, I am still reading about Medea and the quest for the Golden Fleece. Here is someone that I recognize. When Medea falls in love with Jason, it grabs me by my throat. I can see her. Medea sneaks Jason things to help him: ointments to make him invincible, secrets in rocks. She has magic, could bend the natural to the unnatural. 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.

Related Characters: Esch (speaker), Manny
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:
The Fifth Day: Salvage the Bones Quotes

"I ain’t saying [she] weak." Manny still hasn't looked at me. "But you know China ain’t as boss as she used to be."

"What?" Skeetah's tendons are showing.

“Any dog give birth like that is less strong after. Even if you don’t think it. Take a lot out of an animal to nurse and nurture like that. Price of being female." Finally Manny glances at me. It slides over me like I'm glass.

Skeetah laughs. It sounds as if it's hacking its way out of him.

"You serious? That's when they come into they strength. They got something to protect." He glances at me, too, but I feel it even after he looks away. "That's power."

China is licking Skeetah's hand like she licks the puppies. Skeetah pushes her head away but she keeps at it, and he looks away from Manny. The tendons in his neck smooth. The menace leaves him; if he were a dog, his hair would flatten.

"To give life"—Skeetah bends down to China, feels her from neck to jaw, caresses her face like he would kiss her; she flashes her tongue—"is to know what's worth fighting for. And what’s love." Skeetah rubs down her sides, feels her ribs.

Related Characters: Esch (speaker), Skeetah (speaker), Manny (speaker)
Page Number: 96
Explanation and Analysis:
The Seventh Day: Game Dogs and Game Men Quotes

We have never done it like this. His hands are on my ass, and he tries to look down, to see, but it brings us face-to-face. Sweat gathers at his hairline, catches on the red grooves left by the clippers, like ant trails, across the top of his forehead. He grimaces, looking down, away, over my shoulder, up to the ceiling.

I grab his face.

Under my hands, his jaw, freshly shaved, feels like a cat's tongue. My fingers are black as bark against his paler skin.

He will look at me.

He shrugs, twists his head to the side. Flipping like a caught fish. I roll my hips. It is too sweet.

He will look at me.

He snorts, puts his head down into my shoulder. I pull hard, and my hands slide along his face. I grab again.

He will look at me.

He grunts, grabbing at my sweaty sides, his eyes closed. His lashes are longer than those of any girls I know. Beautiful. The thumbs of his long hands press into my stomach, so he can pull again, but then they stutter. He presses hard again: my belly pushes back. He looks down and back up, eye to eye: all I have ever wanted, here. He is looking. He is seeing me, and his hands are coming around to feel the honeydew curve, the swell that is more than swell, the fat that is not fat, the budding baby, and his eyes are so black they are all black, and they are a night without stars. All I have ever wanted. He knows.

Related Characters: Esch (speaker), Manny
Page Number: 145-146
Explanation and Analysis:
The Tenth Day: In the Endless Eye Quotes

“I’m pregnant.”

[Manny] stops in profile. His nose is like a knife.

“And?” His hair grows so fast it's already starting to curl. Sweat beads at his hairline.

"It's yours."

"What?"

“It’s yours."

Manny shakes his head. The knife cuts. The sweat rolls down his scar, is flung out onto the rotten asphalt.

"I ain’t got nothing here," he says. Manny blinks at me when he says it. Looks at me head-on, for the second time ever. "Nothing."

Nothing. For some reason I see Skeetah when I blink, Skeetah kneeling next to China, always kneeling, always stroking and loving and knowing her. Skeetah's face when he stood across from Rico, when he told China, Make them know.

I am on him like China.

[…]

I am slapping him, over and over, my hands a furry, a black blur. His face is hot and stinging as boiling water.

"Hey! Hey!" Manny yells. He blocks what he can with his elbows and forearms, but still I snake through. I slap so hard my hands hurt.

"I love you!"

"Esch!" The skin on his throat is red, his scar white.

"I loved you!" I hit his Adam's apple with the V where my thumb and pointer

finger cross. He chokes.

"I loved you!" This is Medea wielding the knife. This is Medea cutting. I rake my fingernails across his face, leave pink scratches that turn red, fill with blood.

Related Characters: Esch (speaker), Manny (speaker), Skeetah
Page Number: 203-204
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Salvage the Bones LitChart as a printable PDF.
Salvage the Bones PDF

Manny Character Timeline in Salvage the Bones

The timeline below shows where the character Manny appears in Salvage the Bones. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The First Day: Birth in a Bare-Bulb Place
Myth Theme Icon
...the sounds of her brothers talking with their friends; she could recognize the voice of Manny, one of Randall’s buddies, talking about how no more hurricanes were going to hit. Esch... (full context)
Nature and Control Theme Icon
Esch thinks back, again, to earlier that day. As she walked outside and greeted Manny, who was playing basketball with Randall in the yard, she felt hot and nervous. Before... (full context)
Myth Theme Icon
Esch listened to the boys talk; they soon brought up Manny’s girlfriend, Shaliyah. Esch was shaking water around in a jug to clean it, and it... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Nature and Control Theme Icon
Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
...that the dog that sired them, Kilo, is equally fierce. The dog’s owner, Rico, is Manny’s cousin, and he makes his whole living dogfighting. The fifth puppy comes; it is pure... (full context)
Nature and Control Theme Icon
Myth Theme Icon
...down into it for a while, and when she turned to leave, she ran into Manny, who predicted that there would be rain soon, and they’d all be able to swim... (full context)
Myth Theme Icon
...Esch takes a lukewarm shower. She crawls into bed, feeling nauseous and lightheaded. She imagines Manny hovering above her, and thinks that he must love her “like Jason” loved Medea.  (full context)
The Third Day: Sickness in the Dirt
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Nature and Control Theme Icon
...its chest. As Skeetah begins cleaning the squirrel, he asks Esch about her attraction to Manny, but Esch will not answer him. They make their way towards a makeshift barbeque pit,... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Nature and Control Theme Icon
Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
Randall and Manny arrive, and Randall tells everyone that Manny’s cousin Rico lost his last dog to parvo.... (full context)
Nature and Control Theme Icon
Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
...himself; all the boys join him, and soon Esch wades in, too, fully clothed. Marquise, Manny, and Big Henry get in as well. (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Myth Theme Icon
Manny asks Esch why she is in the water in all her clothes; beneath the water,... (full context)
The Fifth Day: Salvage the Bones
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
In the yard, Skeetah and Manny stand talking while China sits between them, snapping at gnats. Manny flinches every time China’s... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Manny tells Skeetah that his cousin Rico is bringing his dog, Kilo, to participate in the... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Nature and Control Theme Icon
Manny warns Skeetah that China is not going to be “as boss as she used to... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Myth Theme Icon
Esch worries that Manny secretly thinks she is weak because she is a girl. She attempts to change the... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Back in the shed, Esch and Junior watch Skeetah mix up the medicine. Manny returns, having forgotten his lighter, but no one can find it. While he looks for... (full context)
The Sixth Day: A Steady Hand
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
...moved. Skeetah fears he has given China too much wormer—more than that, he worries that Manny purposefully gave him bad instruction on how to fix the medicine so that China would... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
At the park, Manny is playing basketball with Big Henry, Randall, and some other neighborhood boys while his girlfriend... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Esch watches Manny and Shaliyah flirt and wishes she could pull her own heart out of her chest—and... (full context)
The Seventh Day: Game Dogs and Game Men
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Nature and Control Theme Icon
...she watches Randall on the court, and doesn’t even notice when she bumps smack into Rico—Manny’s cousin. Manny and Shaliyah are with him, and though Rico tries to talk to Esch,... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Esch uses the bathroom and when she comes out of her stall, Manny is by the sinks, waiting for her. She tells him he’s in the wrong bathroom;... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Manny grabs Esch’s sides with his hands and presses his thumbs into her stomach. He looks... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
...of them walk back to the bleachers arm-in-arm, and Esch is upset to realize that Manny, Shaliyah, and Rico are sitting just a few seats below them. Skeetah, noticing Esch’s demeanor... (full context)
Nature and Control Theme Icon
Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
...China’s first litter most of the puppies were born dead. Rico says he heard from Manny that one of the puppies looks like Kilo, and that’s the one he wants; Skeetah... (full context)
Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
Rico, enraged at Skeetah’s attitude, threatens to “fuck [him] up.” Manny tries to calm Rico down, but Skeetah yells at Manny, to which Rico expresses his... (full context)
The Eighth Day: Make Them Know
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Nature and Control Theme Icon
Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
...woods, and to stay away until the fight is done. Across the clearing, Esch spots Manny, who looks at her concernedly. She avoids his gaze, imagines herself tall as Medea and... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Nature and Control Theme Icon
Rico and Skeetah tend to their dogs. Esch watches across the clearing as Manny whispers to Rico that China “ain’t shit, ain’t got no heart.” After a brief reprieve,... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
...the fight to stop. As Kilo keens and cries, China returns to Skeetah. Esch spots Manny across the ring, looking at her, Skeetah, and China with hate in his eyes. (full context)
The Tenth Day: In the Endless Eye
Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
...Esch sits on the front steps of the house; she is the first to see Manny as he walks up the drive. (full context)
Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
Manny calls for Randall, and the two go outside to talk while Esch finishes up the... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
When Esch catches up with Manny, he asks if Randall wants something—she says that it’s her, though, who has something to... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Manny grabs a hold of Esch and throws her away from him into the dirt. He... (full context)
The Twelfth Day: Alive
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
...China, who’d washed away. In the crowd gathered at Big Henry’s, Esch locked eyes with Manny—when Randall saw, he asked her if Manny was her baby’s father, and she nodded. Randall... (full context)