Sing, Unburied, Sing Symbols & Objects

Ward, Jesmyn
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Water

Water in the novel serves as a source for healing and damage. The sweet era of Leonie and Michael's courtship happened alongside the local river (probably the Wolf River that runs through DeLisle, the town on which Ward based the fictionalized town of Bois Sauvage) and is part of the imagery Leonie uses to represent the vibrancy of their sexual connection after Michael returns from prison.

"Crossing the water," Richie's desire in the novel (281) represents the final passage from life into death and is related to the belief of African American slaves that they would reverse the Middle Passage to slavery in the Americas by going back across the Atlantic to Africa after death.

Water also has a particular historical and environmental resonance for the Gulf Coast states of Mississippi and Louisiana. Michael was working on the Gulf Coast as a welder on the poorly maintained...

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This section contains 1,040 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Sing, Unburied, Sing Study Guide
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