Salvage the Bones

Salvage the Bones Imagery

China and the Chicken

When Esch and Randall stage an unsuccessful attempt to steal food from the white people's house, China greets them, holding a bloody chicken in her mouth, and Esch responds, "That's ours" (209). This image of China foreshadows the impending carnage that Hurricane Katrina will bring.


The hen's eggs that Esch collects from her yard parallel the eggs inside her that she cannot see, highlighting the sense of mystery that she feels in relation to her own changing female body.

The Coffin

At the close of the novel, Esch sees a man crying next to a coffin on which a dog is urinating, an image that sums up the apathy of Hurricane Katrina toward the severity of its impact on Esch's community.


Death is evoked as a smell in numerous settings of the novel. Skeetah believes that he will not be bitten by water moccasins while swimming because they can smell death on him. Later, Esch mentions that the bathroom in which Manny realized she was pregnant smells like death. This builds on existing notions that the impending hurricane is detectable in various sinister ways.