Salvage the Bones

The Complexity of Junior 12th Grade

Although Junior in Salvage the Bones is only 10 years old, his character not only is complicated but also provides complexity to the rest of Ward's novel. His birth resulted in the death of Mama, which leaves the rest of the family motherless and alone to fend for themselves in the Pit. Without a mother or even peers close to his age, the youngest of the Bastiste siblings was forced to grow up more quickly than the average 10-year-old. Despite this, Junior’s brothers and sister still view him as a baby, and never seem to recognize that he has experienced horrors that have forced him to grow far beyond his years. During the majority of the novel, Junior is constantly trying to prove to Randall, Skeetah, and Esch that he is, in fact, mature enough to be involved with their lives. However, when Katrina hits the Pit, there is a clear retraction of the brave and mature boy that Junior has proved to be, leaving the reader with a only a scared shell, traumatized by the stormy waters.

Junior has a much deeper understanding of his surroundings than his siblings are aware of. When all of the Batiste siblings decide to go to the basketball game to support Randall, for example, Junior is quick to realize Esch’s distress after the incident...

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