What is the presence of Mama in Jesmyn Ward's novel Salvage the Bones? How does Mama live on in her children's memory, even though she has been dead for seven years?

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In Jesmyn Ward’s novel Salvage the Bones, Mama lives on her children’s memories in virtually every observation or activity the story’s 15-year-old protagonist, Esch, and her three brothers experience.  Right from the start, Mama’s presence is felt in Esch’s description of the “black tennis shoes Mama bought because they hide dirt and hold up until they’re beaten soft,” and in drawing a somewhat uncomfortable parallel between her brother Skeetah’s pit bull and their deceased mother’s giving birth to Junior, the youngest of the three brothers.  Describing the dog, China’s, process of labor, Esch recalls her mother’s pregnancy:

“What China [the pit bull] is doing is nothing like what Mama did when she had my youngest brother, Junior.  Mama gave birth in the house she...

(The entire section contains 412 words.)

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