Salvage the Bones

Overcoming Sexual Wrongdoing: Blindness v. Salvage the Bones 12th Grade

Oscar Wilde once said that “Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.” In both Blindness by Jose Saramago and in Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward, sex is used by the men in the story as a means to exert power over the women. In Salvage the Bones, the reader follows Esch, a 15-year-old girl who has undying yet unrequited love for the boy who impregnated her, Manny. To Manny, Esch is just a toy that he can throw away when he is finished. Although the circumstances may be different in Blindness, the group of hoodlums in the story use the mass rape of the women as a means to become the most powerful group in the asylum, and thus control their only life source, food. What is most notable about these two novels, however, is not the atrocities committed by the men, but the way in which the women respond to the outrageous sexual wrongdoings done unto them. In both Blindness and Salvage the Bones there are male characters who take advantage of the women so as to exert power over them. However, in both stories there also comes a point when the women have had enough, and look inward to find a way to stop the inhumane way in which they are being treated, resulting in lasting changes for their characters.

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