Salvage the Bones

by

Jesmyn Ward

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Skeetah Character Analysis

Skeetah, the second-eldest of Esch’s brothers, is in some ways the novel’s second protagonist; he is the person Esch spends the most time with, and since the novel is told from her perspective, he is more keenly observed and characterized than even she is in many ways. Skeetah is a dreamer like Esch, but while Esch loses herself in fantasies of the ancient Greeks, Skeetah is a dedicated hustler. His prize fighting dog, China, has just given birth to a litter of puppies, and Skeetah is desperate to keep the surviving pups alive for six weeks so that he can sell them off and make some money for his family. Skeetah’s intense emotional relationship with China forms much of the first half of the novel’s tension and drama; he wants her to embrace her pups and nourish them, but her territorial and violent instincts—instilled in her by Skeetah himself—threaten her pups’ lives, and soon only three remain. Skeetah, who puts his life on the line again and again as he raids neighbors’ homes for supplies both for the dogs and for his siblings, is symbolic of the ways in which the Batistes—and families like them, stuck in rural poverty—have had to adapt and find other ways of surviving in a harsh, indifferent world. Skeetah believes that he can pull his family up out of their miserable circumstances if he pushes himself—and China—hard enough, and as the novel comes to an end, he finds himself still maintaining this belief in spite of the devastating losses Katrina has wrought.

Skeetah Quotes in Salvage the Bones

The Salvage the Bones quotes below are all either spoken by Skeetah or refer to Skeetah. 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 First Day: Birth in a Bare-Bulb Place Quotes

The puppy is pure white. She is her mother in miniature. But while her mother moans, she is silent. Skeetah bends over her. The other puppies are opening their jaws, twitching legs. We're all sweating so badly we look like we just ran into the shed from a hard, heavy summer rain. But Skeet is shaking his head, and I don't know if it's all sweat or if he's crying. He blinks. He scrapes his pointer over the pure white skull, down the puppy's chest and her belly. Her mouth opens and her belly inflates. She is her mother’s daughter. She is a fighter. She breathes.

Related Characters: Esch (speaker), Skeetah
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:
The Fourth Day: Worth Stealing Quotes

"You giving China a floor?" Daddy had started on our house once he and Mama got married. Hearing the stories about him and Papa Joseph when I was growing up, I always thought it was something a man did for a woman when they married: build her something to live in.

"No, Esch." Skeetah slices at the underside of the next tile with one of Daddy's rusty box cutters. "I'm saving them puppies. China's strong and old enough to where the parvo won’t kill her." He yanked. "They’re money."

Related Characters: Esch (speaker), Skeetah, Daddy
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:
The Fifth Day: Salvage the Bones Quotes

"You ran slow yesterday."

I hold the bandage close. Skeetah grabs a rusty safety pin from off the sink and pins it shut.

"Only in the beginning," I say.

"Why?"

"I don't know." The light is creeping into the bathroom like fog. Skeetah pulls his shirt back over his head, looks down at my body to my chest, my stomach, my feet. What does he know? I shift, barely help myself from folding my arms.

"Maybe you’re gaining weight."

"You’re saying I'm fat?" I am trying not to cry. I don’t want him to know, but I can’t tell him, because I can’t say it. I haven’t said it to myself yet, out loud. Just chased it around in my head since I saw the lines.

"No," Skeet says. “Just growing up, maybe."

Related Characters: Esch (speaker), Skeetah (speaker)
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:

"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 Sixth Day: A Steady Hand Quotes

"Do it," Skeetah commands China.

China's ears are fat as plastic knives laid on her head and her mouth is wet and pink as uncooked chicken, except here the bone shows. She is quivering, her muscles beset by a multitude of tics. She is shaking all over, now eye to eye with Skeetah, seemingly ignoring the dirt-red puppy rounding her bowl, waddling for milk. He is the one that is a model of the father, of Kilo; he is the fattest, the most well fed, the bully. Turgid with the promise of living. When their eyes eventually open, I think that his will be the first.

The tractor idles and the engine turns, sounds as if it going to move.

"Don't do it!" Daddy yells against his tugging, but his grunts eat the Don't, and I don't know what Randall hears, but he lets up on the brake and slips it in gear, and the tractor eases forward. "Stop!" Daddy yells. He is pulling back, his hand clenched in the wire, and he twists so hard his arm looks long and ropy.

The red puppy creeps forward, rounds China's bowl, noses her tit. China is rolling, rising. The rumble of the tractor is her growl. Her toes are pointed, her head raised. Skeetah falls back. The red puppy undulates toward her; a fat mite. China snaps forward, closes her jaw around the puppy's neck as she does when she carries him, but there is no gentleness in it. She is all white eyes. She is chewing. She is whipping him through the air like a tire eaten too short for Skeetah to grab.

Related Characters: Esch (speaker), Skeetah (speaker), Daddy (speaker)
Page Number: 128-129
Explanation and Analysis:

The blood on Daddy’s shirt is the same color as the pulpy puppy in China's mouth. China flings it away from her. It thuds on the tin and slides. Randall comes running. Big Henry kneels with Daddy in the dirt, where what was Daddy's middle, ring, and pinkie finger on his left hand are sheared off clean as fallen tree trunks. The meat of his fingers is red and wet as China's lips.

Skeetah kneels in the dirt, feeling for the mutilated puppy; he knocks into metal drums and toolboxes and old chainsaws with his head and his shoulders.

"Why did you?" Skeetah wails.

"Why?" Daddy breathes to Randall and Big Henry standing over him, the blood sluicing down his forearm. They are gripping Daddy's wrist, trying to stop the bleeding. Skeetah is punching the metal he meets. China is bloody-mouthed and bright-eyed as Medea. If she could speak, this is what I would ask her: Is this what motherhood is?

Related Characters: Esch (speaker), Skeetah (speaker), Daddy (speaker)
Page Number: 129-130
Explanation and Analysis:
The Eighth Day: Make Them Know Quotes

I try to read the entire mythology book, but I can’t. I am stuck in the middle. When I put the book down and wipe my wet face and breathe in my morning breath, ripe to the afternoon under the sheet, this is where I have stopped. Medea kills her brother. In the beginning, she is known by her nephew, who tells the Argonauts about her, for having power, for helping her family, just like I tried to help Skeet on the day China first got sick from the Ivomec. But for Medea, love makes help turn wrong. The author says that there are a couple of different versions of how it happened. One says she lies to her brother and invites him onto the ship with the Argonauts as they were feeing, and that Jason ambushes him. That she watched her brother die, her own face on his being sliced open like a chicken: pink skin cut to bloody meat. The other version says that she kills her brother herself, that her brother runs away with her and the Argonauts, assuming that he is safe, and that she chops him into bits: liver, gizzard, breast and thigh, and throws each part overboard so that her father, who is chasing them, slows down to pick up each part of his son. I read it over and over again. It is like she is under the covers with me, both of us sweating to water.

Related Characters: Esch (speaker), Skeetah
Page Number: 154
Explanation and Analysis:

I listen for the boys and the dogs somewhere out in these woods, but all I can hear is the pine trees shushing each other, the oak bristling, the magnolia leaves hard and wide so that they sound like paper plates clattering when the wind hits them, this wind snapping before Katrina somewhere out there in the Gulf coming like the quiet voice of someone talking before they walk through the doorway of a room.

A cloud passes over the sun, and it is dark under the trees. It passes, and the gold melts through the leaves, falls on bark and floor: foil coins. Soon we reach a curtain of vines, which hang from the lowest branches to the needle-carpeted earth, and we crawl. Skeetah dusts China's breasts off, waves us on. We have been walking for a long time when I hear the first tiny bark.

"You tired?" Randall asks.

"No," I say. My stomach feels full of water, hurts with it, but I will not tell him that. I push aside a branch, let it go, but it still scratches my arm. Medea's journey took her to the water, which was the highway of the ancient world, where death was as close as the waves, the sun, the wind. Where death was as many as the fish waiting in the water, fanning fins, watching the surface, shad- owing the bottom dark. China barks as if she is answering the dog.

Related Characters: Esch (speaker), Randall (speaker), Skeetah
Page Number: 159
Explanation and Analysis:

Skeetah is squeezing China’s neck, murmuring in her ear. This time I cannot hear what he says. Skeetah is whispering so closely to China's ear I only catch half of his lips behind the red-veined white of her ear. Her breast drips blood. China licks Skeetah's cheek.

Rico stands, already smiling.

"Maybe I don't want the white [puppy]," Rico says. "Maybe I want the colored one that got more Kilo in it." He laughs.

Skeetah stands, and China, stout and white, looks up at him. "She fights," Skeetah says.

Randall pulls the stick from his shoulders, swings it around

to his front. "She's already fucked up enough," Randall says.

"Cuz, if she lost, she lost," Big Henry says, slowly, as if he is tasting the words.

"She didn’t lose," Skeetah breathes.

Related Characters: Skeetah (speaker), Randall (speaker), Rico (speaker)
Page Number: 174
Explanation and Analysis:
The Ninth Day: Hurricane Eclipse Quotes

"It's salty. Taste like pecans. And if worse comes to worst, we can eat like China." Skeetah rubs China from her shoulders to her neck, up along her razor jaw, and holds her face, which goes wrinkly with the skin smashed forward. It looks like he is pulling her to him for a kiss. She squints. I want to kick her. Randall shoulders his box, grabs the ramen box from me, and turns to walk into the house. Junior is tying his cord around an old lawn mower now, pulling at it like he's playing tug-of-war. The sun shines, blazes like fire, funnels down in the gaps between the trees, and lights up Skeetah and China so that they glow, each kneeling before the other, eyes together. Skeetah has already forgotten the conversation, and China never heard it.

"We ain't no dogs," Randall says. “And you ain't either."

Related Characters: Skeetah (speaker), Esch, Randall, Junior
Page Number: 193
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:
The Eleventh Day: Katrina Quotes

I kick, grasping at the air, but the hurricane slaps me, and I land in the water on my back, the puppies flying out of the bucket, their eyes open for the first time to slits and, I swear, judging me as they hit.

"Esch!" Randall yells, and Junior tightens his legs like a looping shoestring across Randall's waist. Randall grips Junior's shins, those legs thin as rulers. Randall cant jump in. "Swim!" he screams.

I kick my legs and palm water, but I can barely keep my head above it. It is a fanged pink open mouth, and it is swallowing me.

"Fuck!" Skeetah yells. He looks down at China, who is thrusting up and against his sling.

"Esch!" Junior screams, and the water is dragging me sideways, away from the window, out into the yard, toward the gullet of the Pit. I snatch at the puppy closest to me, the brindle, which is limp in my hand, and shove it down my shirt. The white and the black-and-white have disappeared.

"Fuck!" Skeetah screams. He grabs China’s head, whispers something to her as she scrabbles against him. Her teeth show and she jerks backward away from him. She writhes. Her torso is out of the sling he has made. Skeetah grabs China by the head and pulls and her body comes out and she is scrambling. She flies clear of him, twists in the air to splash belly first in the water. She is already swimming, fighting.

Related Characters: Esch (speaker), Skeetah (speaker), Randall (speaker), Junior (speaker)
Page Number: 234-235
Explanation and Analysis:
The Twelfth Day: Alive Quotes

"She's going to come back to me," he says. "Watch.”

[…]

China. She will return, standing tall and straight, the milk burned out of her. She will look down on the circle of light we have made in the Pit, and she will know that I have kept watch, that I have fought. China will bark and call me sister. In the star-suffocated sky, there is a great waiting silence. She will know that I am a mother.

Related Characters: Esch (speaker), Skeetah (speaker)
Page Number: 258
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Salvage the Bones LitChart as a printable PDF.
Salvage the Bones PDF

Skeetah Character Timeline in Salvage the Bones

The timeline below shows where the character Skeetah 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
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Nature and Control Theme Icon
Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
Esch’s brother Skeetah’s dog, China, is giving birth to her first litter of puppies. As Esch watches the... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Nature and Control Theme Icon
...Esch observes that “what China is doing is fighting, like she was born to do.” Skeetah urges Esch, Randall, Junior, and their daddy to leave the shed and give China some... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Nature and Control Theme Icon
Esch sees China start to struggle, and suggests Skeetah help her push. Skeetah insists that China doesn’t need any help; sure enough, seconds later,... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Nature and Control Theme Icon
...“flat cartoon dog;” after looking at it for a moment, she realizes it is stillborn. Skeetah is briefly discouraged, but then realizes that a third puppy is coming right away. The... (full context)
Nature and Control Theme Icon
...the house. As Esch rinsed the red earth from the jugs, more of Randall and Skeetah’s friends arrived: Big Henry and Marquise. The Pit, Esch thinks, feels “empty” without her brothers’... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Nature and Control Theme Icon
Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
...favorite so far, and she wants to keep it for herself. She knows, though, that Skeetah will never let her, as the pup is worth too much money. China is a... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Nature and Control Theme Icon
...squats and delivers the afterbirth. She turns around and eats it, then walks over to Skeetah and licks his pinkie. (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Esch can see something moving in the corner—Skeetah goes over to inspect it, and sees that China has abandoned in the corner the... (full context)
Myth Theme Icon
China grows stiff and rigid, glowering past her puppies and Skeetah towards Esch, Randall, and Junior. Skeetah tells everyone to leave the shed so that he... (full context)
The Second Day: Hidden Eggs
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
...is awakened by the sound of hammering in the yard. She goes outside to find Skeetah building a kennel for the puppies—though they’re too little for it now, he says, they’ll... (full context)
Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
...ever come to Esch easily is sex. She lost her virginity at twelve to Marquise, Skeetah’s closest friend. The act came naturally to her and felt simple as swimming, and every... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
...he insists on eating ramen noodles. Esch cooks up some eggs and brings them to Skeetah instead, and they head back into the shed to check on the puppies. Skeetah gives... (full context)
Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
...to assume that he’d one day come to her for sex, but he never has. Skeetah comes up to Esch, Big Henry, and Daddy and asks Esch and Big Henry if... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
...and the store is busy with people buying up supplies in preparation for the hurricane. Skeetah doesn’t even look at any canned food or water jugs and instead goes straight for... (full context)
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As Skeetah gets closer to the woman, he sees that she has been in a car accident.... (full context)
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When he passes the phone back to the man, Big Henry tells Skeetah and Esch that the police have asked them to stay until help arrives. Skeetah is... (full context)
Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
Esch asks Skeetah if he thinks the accident victims are family members or friends, and Skeetah replies that... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Big Henry drops Esch and Skeetah back at the Pit. As Esch gets out of the car, she notices that Big... (full context)
The Third Day: Sickness in the Dirt
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Myth Theme Icon
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After a while, Esch notices Skeetah standing at the door, looking as if he is about to cry. Esch asks him... (full context)
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Skeetah picks the puppy up and places him at China’s breast, but she lowers her head... (full context)
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Esch speculates that China is simply trying to protect the rest of the litter. Skeetah, with the puppy in the front of his t-shirt, agrees that she must be. He... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Inside, Esch struggles to eat some breakfast while Skeetah raids the cabinets for food so that he and his friends can have a get-together... (full context)
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Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
Esch and Skeetah head back out to the shed, walking past Junior in the yard. Junior is piling... (full context)
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Skeetah puts the bucket—with the puppy inside—back up on a shelf where China can’t reach it.... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
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Out in the woods, Skeetah cocks the BB gun; he is going to hunt squirrels. In just two shots, he... (full context)
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Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
Esch asks Skeetah if the puppy has a name; he admits that it doesn’t, but offers Esch the... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Nature and Control Theme Icon
Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
...Randall tells everyone that Manny’s cousin Rico lost his last dog to parvo. Manny tells Skeetah he should kill the puppy quickly—every second he doesn’t, he’s just torturing it. Manny asks... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Skeetah lifts the puppy out of the bucket. Esch reaches out to touch it, but Skeetah... (full context)
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Skeetah comes back a while later, having buried the puppy, and begins stripping and throwing his... (full context)
The Fourth Day: Worth Stealing
Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
...taking from the shell of the house things they need for their own. Esch finds Skeetah in the kitchen pulling up linoleum—he wants to put it down in the shed to... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Skeetah asks Esch if she wants to come with him into the woods today—he needs her... (full context)
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Myth Theme Icon
Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
Esch and Skeetah are startled by the sound of their father’s tractor approaching. As Daddy walks into the... (full context)
Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
Esch gives Skeetah a boost up into the attic; Daddy tosses him a hammer, and Skeetah starts pulling... (full context)
Myth Theme Icon
Later, Esch and Skeetah make their way about a mile through the woods to the east of the pit... (full context)
Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
When Skeetah and Esch arrive at the edge of the woods, Skeetah tells Esch to keep watch... (full context)
Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
Skeetah places a razor blade in his mouth and he and Esch begin crawling through brambles... (full context)
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As Skeetah and Esch make their way back around to investigate, they realize that Randall, Big Henry,... (full context)
Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
Skeetah advises everyone to start running the second they see him emerging from the barn, and... (full context)
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Esch stands up and looks through the trees; Skeetah pulls himself through the window as the white couple drive up in their pickup. There... (full context)
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As Skeetah reaches the tree line, Esch, Junior, Randall, and Big Henry all begin running back through... (full context)
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Skeetah reaches into his pocket and pulls out the vials of cow wormer he’s stolen before... (full context)
The Fifth Day: Salvage the Bones
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The next morning, Esch barges into the bathroom, her bladder full to bursting, to find Skeetah examining himself in the mirror; he is shirtless, and his torso is covered in angry... (full context)
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Skeetah points out that Esch ran slowly the day before, and he asks her why. She... (full context)
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In the yard, Skeetah and Manny stand talking while China sits between them, snapping at gnats. Manny flinches every... (full context)
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Manny tells Skeetah that his cousin Rico is bringing his dog, Kilo, to participate in the next fight;... (full context)
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Manny warns Skeetah that China is not going to be “as boss as she used to be” going... (full context)
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...is weak because she is a girl. She attempts to change the subject by asking Skeetah if he has given China the wormer yet. He says that he tried to earlier,... (full context)
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Back in the shed, Esch and Junior watch Skeetah mix up the medicine. Manny returns, having forgotten his lighter, but no one can find... (full context)
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...the bathroom curtain to the side and looks out into the yard, where she watches Skeetah and her drunken father have a confrontation. Skeetah is working on the kennel, and Daddy... (full context)
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Daddy warns Skeetah that if China ever attacks him, he will either take her into the woods and... (full context)
The Sixth Day: A Steady Hand
Nature and Control Theme Icon
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...but she cannot concentrate—she is terribly hungry, and there is not enough food to eat. Skeetah has been out in the shed all night, and Esch decides to go see if... (full context)
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When Esch gets to the shed, the puppies are nursing happily while China relaxes, but Skeetah insists something is wrong. They have been nursing for nearly an hour, he says, and... (full context)
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Esch suggests Skeetah go take a bath to clean his wounds and take his mind off the dogs,... (full context)
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Esch and Junior watch as China, just as Skeetah predicted she would, kicks away the puppies. Four remain: the white one, the red one,... (full context)
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...it next to China, though, and Esch squeezes his arm until he drops the puppy—if Skeetah had come in or if China had woken up, she says, they’d both be in... (full context)
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Skeetah comes back, and Esch tells him she and Junior are going to the park. Skeetah... (full context)
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When the game is finished, Skeetah is still jogging around the park with China on the leash, trying to get her... (full context)
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...they all decide to head back to the Pit, and Big Henry drives home alongside Skeetah and China, who are trotting through the dusk. (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
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...well as Randall. Junior follows Randall and Daddy over to the tractor while Esch helps Skeetah and Big Henry put China in the shed, where she lies down and seems to... (full context)
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Almost angrily, Skeetah tries to get China to eat, but she is tired and shaking. The red puppy,... (full context)
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...puppy up in her jaw; she whips the pup back and forth, chewing at it. Skeetah yells for her to stop, but she does not. Randall, meanwhile, tries to stop the... (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
...Daddy collapses; he is missing the middle, ring, and pinky fingers of his left hand. Skeetah, crying, yells at China, asking her how she could kill her own puppy; Randall and... (full context)
The Seventh Day: Game Dogs and Game Men
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
...asleep; Big Henry is on the sofa, and Daddy and Randall are in their rooms. Skeetah and China—who’d stayed behind in the shed while everyone else went to the hospital—are gone. (full context)
Motherhood and Violence Theme Icon
Nature and Control Theme Icon
Randall has a basketball game later today, and Esch oils her hair and gets ready. Skeetah comes back inside, sweating and stinking. Esch asks what China was barking about, but Skeetah... (full context)
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...The gym is dark and hot, and Esch sits with Junior, Big Henry, Marquise, and Skeetah as Randall warms up on the court. Skeetah tells the others how earlier, when the... (full context)
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...to realize that Manny, Shaliyah, and Rico are sitting just a few seats below them. Skeetah, noticing Esch’s demeanor and intuiting what has happened, spits a curse in Manny’s direction. Rico... (full context)
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Skeetah deflects Rico’s questions, replying that because it was China’s first litter most of the puppies... (full context)
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Rico, enraged at Skeetah’s attitude, threatens to “fuck [him] up.” Manny tries to calm Rico down, but Skeetah yells... (full context)
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...migrates outside. Randall follows the group, demanding to know what has happened. Rico snarlingly tells Skeetah he’ll see him and his dog tomorrow, and Skeetah vows that Rico will never get... (full context)
The Eighth Day: Make Them Know
Poverty and Survival Theme Icon
...allowed to go, he says, if she goes. He also tells her that Randall and Skeetah are arguing—Randall insists that Skeetah shouldn’t be taking China to the fight, regardless of whether... (full context)
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Esch sits on the toilet and watches out the window as Skeetah gives China a bath. As Skeetah washes her with dish soap so that she gleams,... (full context)
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Esch, Skeetah, Randall, Junior, and China head through the woods towards the clearing where the fight is... (full context)
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...Rouge to Pensacola” and has won a great deal of fights. As Esch looks to Skeetah and China, who sits calmly at his side, she realizes that no one else present... (full context)
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After the boys finish talking, Skeetah takes China’s leash back and she stands still at his side. Esch notices that while... (full context)
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...fight that will determine whether Rico gets to take the puppy of his choice from Skeetah for free. Rico and Jerome take a minute to pet and whisper to their dogs,... (full context)
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...puppy, but Randall insists that the night has ended in a tie. As Rico threatens Skeetah, Randall steps in between the two boys, telling them to stop fighting; there is no... (full context)
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Randall excoriates Skeetah for wanting to fight China and begs him to think of China’s puppies, who need... (full context)
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The fight begins; Skeetah has removed China’s leash and collar, and as soon as he tells her to “go,”... (full context)
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Rico and Skeetah tend to their dogs. Esch watches across the clearing as Manny whispers to Rico that... (full context)
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As Skeetah tends to China, Rico taunts him from across the ring, stating that he doesn’t want... (full context)
The Ninth Day: Hurricane Eclipse
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In Randall and Skeetah’s room, Randall is in bed but Skeetah isn’t. After the fight last night, Skeetah washed... (full context)
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...pickup truck for nails, hammers, drills, and spare boards to put up over the windows. Skeetah emerges from the shed and asks what they’re up to; Randall explains that they need... (full context)
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Skeetah says he needs to go to the store for supplies for China, and Randall tells... (full context)
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Later, Esch and Randall recount the story about Junior and the ring to Skeetah—Esch has found the ring and cleaned it, though she threw up while doing so. Junior,... (full context)
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...with gas. They then park it at the edge of the pit, near the pond. Skeetah and Big Henry return home from the store; Skeetah has two giant bags of expensive... (full context)
The Tenth Day: In the Endless Eye
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...hot and miserable, and everyone but Daddy hangs out in the yard for some air. Skeetah is busy washing and arranging all of China’s things. Randall asks if Esch has any... (full context)
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Randall suggests they all hunt for eggs, and urges Skeetah to stop fussing over China and her things and help out. The wind picks up... (full context)
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...and Manny’s conversation shift to the fight that broke out at the game—Randall says that Skeetah thinks Manny is “dogging” Esch. Manny denies it, insisting that he and Esch are “like... (full context)
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As they run through the woods, Esch asks where Skeetah and Junior are; Randall replies that they’re somewhere else in the forest. Esch notices that... (full context)
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Back at the house, Skeetah has China up on the bed, and she is licking his face despite the fact... (full context)
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...to make him some soup, but Randall says he’ll take care of it. Esch and Skeetah stand together in the hallway, with China between them. She is wagging her tail and... (full context)
The Eleventh Day: Katrina
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...the night before the storm hits washing dishes, filling the bathtubs, and watching cartoons. Only Skeetah and Daddy stay in their rooms. Unable to sleep, Esch stays up reading her mythology... (full context)
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...the morning, the sun will not come out. The wind outside sounds like a train. Skeetah comes into the living room for a lamp, then asks Esch to come with him... (full context)
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Skeetah hears something outside. He goes to the window and listens, then identifies the noise as... (full context)
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...know that something was about to happen to the ceiling before it caved in, but Skeetah denies that China knew anything. Skeetah brings China and the puppies into the living room,... (full context)
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...rereading Medea’s story. She looks down, and sees that the carpet beneath her is dark. Skeetah stands up and looks around; he states that water is coming up through the floorboards.... (full context)
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Daddy instructs Randall to open up the attic. Skeetah hands Esch the puppies’ bucket so that he can help. Once the ladder has come... (full context)
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...and rain are terrible, but one by one the Batistes climb up onto the roof. Skeetah removes his jeans and makes a sling in which he can carry China, who shakes... (full context)
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Randall, Skeetah, and Junior all jump down onto the tree, and then it is Esch’s turn. She... (full context)
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...and falls, dropping the puppies, who fly out of the bucket and into the water. Skeetah cries out as China struggles against him, scratching him. Esch reaches out and grabs a... (full context)
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...trying to comfort her. She feels a hand wrap around her leg, and realizes that Skeetah is pulling her up and pushing her through the broken window. He calls for China,... (full context)
The Twelfth Day: Alive
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...the wind died down and the water receded inch by inch. Esch crawled over to Skeetah who was looking out the attic as if he wanted to jump—Esch touched his shoulder... (full context)
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Skeetah proclaimed that when the water receded to a certain level—the middle of the tractor tires—he... (full context)
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...had been just about to leave and search for the Batistes. Big Henry asked where Skeetah was, and Esch explained he’d gone looking for China, who’d washed away. In the crowd... (full context)
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...town, which has rendered whole roads and bridges completely impassible. Daddy asks Esch if what Skeetah said during the storm was true, and Esch nods. Daddy apologizes for pushing her, and... (full context)
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...ride through the neighborhood to see the damage. Esch agrees, and suggests they go collect Skeetah on the way back. Daddy predicts that Skeetah won’t leave the Pit. He grips his... (full context)
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Back at the Pit, Skeetah has made a clearing in what “used to be” the yard but is now a... (full context)
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Randall asks Skeetah to come back to Big Henry’s with them—they are all worried about him. Skeetah shakes... (full context)
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Skeetah assures the others that China will come back to him. Esch enters her imagination and... (full context)