Sing, Unburied, Sing

by Jesmyn Ward

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What are some quotes about drug use in Sing, Unburied, Sing?

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In "Sing, Unburied, Sing," quotes about drug use reflect Leonie's struggle with addiction and depression. One quote is, "Sometimes the world don’t give you what you need, no matter how hard you look. Sometimes it withholds," highlighting her search for peace. Another quote, "We are all sinking... I am failing them. We are all drowning," illustrates her feeling of drowning in depression and addiction.

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In the book Sing, Unburied, Sing, thirteen-year-old JoJo and his sister Kayla live with their grandparents in Mississippi because their father, Michael, is in prison and their mother, Leonie, is a drug addict. Leonie is often depressed and thinks about her dead brother. She has visions of him when she uses drugs and desperately wants to escape this despair. One quote of Leonie's that references her drug use and these feelings of depression is as follows:

Sometimes the world don’t give you what you need, no matter how hard you look. Sometimes it withholds.

This quote is referring to the peace of mind that Leonie is searching for when she uses drugs, but even drug use cannot take away her pain and give her the peace she needs.

Another quote of Leonie's gives us insight into her constant state of depression and inability to pull herself out of drug use:

We are all sinking, and there are manta rays gliding beneath us and sharks jostling us. I am trying to keep everyone above water, even as I struggle to stay afloat. I sink below the waves and push Jojo upward so he can stay above the waves and breathe, but then Michaela sinks and I push her up, and Michael sinks so I shove him to the air as I sink and struggle, but they won't stay up: they want to sink like stones. I thrust them up toward the surface, to the fractured sky so they can live, but they keep slipping from my hands. It is so real that I can feel their sodden clothes against my palms. I am failing them. We are all drowning.

Drug addicts often describe their feeling of depression as that of drowning. The use of drugs gives Leonie a momentary breath of air, but when she comes down from her high she sinks lower in life, struggling to keep her head above water and provide for herself and her children.

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