Jesmyn Ward’s novel “Sing, Unburied, Sing” tells the story of a young black boy named Jojo and his mother, Leonie. The novel explores themes of family, race, and love. Jesmyn Ward is a National Book Award winner and her novel has been praised by critics.
The opening sentence of Sing, Unburied, Sing introduces the novel’s backbone and provides readers an insightful view into how the rest of the narrative will develop with each turn of the page. Jojo’s assertion that death is inevitable in the first lines establishes a major theme for the characters, who can’t escape death as it becomes a vital source of nourishment to them as they confront their personal demons that torment them throughout the book.
The way in which Jesmyn Ward uses music as a form of hope and liberation for the characters is significant as it allows them to remember the happier moments in their lives when they can sing and be free from their struggles. Music becomes a symbol of hope that reminds them of a time when things were simpler and they had less weight on their shoulders.
Jesmyn Ward’s novel, Sing, Unburied, Sing, tells the story of a family struggling to grapple with death, addiction, and secrets. The prologue opens with Jojo’s bold claim about death, which sets the stage for the novel’s exploration of this complex theme. Music plays an important role in the novel, providing hope and liberation for the characters as they remember happier times. Ultimately, Sing, Unburied, Sing is a powerful story about family, hope, and the importance of coming to terms with the past.
The recurring subject of death offers a broader and more significant topic than the trauma of losing a loved one to death. The initial sentence in particular gives readers an image of Jojo as a person. Jesmyn Ward, like The Bluest Eye, makes the point that physical attractiveness does not guarantee happiness.
The second paragraph provides an example of this when Jojo is outside with his father and he feels the presence of death. Jojo’s reaction to death foreshadows how he will eventually deal with his own mortality. Jesmyn Ward expertly weaves in the idea that love can transcend time and space, which is evident in the third paragraph when Leonie talks about her deceased mother. Jesmyn Ward’s novel Sing, Unburied, Sing is a beautiful and haunting portrait of a family struggling to grapple with the past and present.
Jojo’s line, “I like to believe I understand what death is,” offers the reader a certain perception of the character, implying that he may be mature beyond his young age and capable of comprehending that death is a looming danger that no one can escape. Jojo’s opening statement, “I prefer to believe I know what death is,” establishes an atmosphere alluding to the demanding trials of life with which he may or may not be familiar because of his young age of 13 years old.
Jesmyn Ward’s novel, “Sing, Unburied, Sing” centers around the lives of a black family in the American South and how they deal with racism, poverty, love, and loss.
Jesmyn Ward was born in DeLisle, Mississippi. In 2005, she received her MFA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her first novel, Where the Line Bleeds (2004) was a national bestseller. In 2011, she published her second novel Salvage the Bones which won the National Book Award for Fiction. Jesmyn is also the author of Men We Reaped (2013), a memoir about the deaths of five young men close to her. Jesmyn currently is an Associate Professor of English at Tulane University.
Jesmyn Ward’s writing often focuses on the lives of poor black people in the American South. In an interview with The Atlantic, Jesmyn said, “The South is still very present for me, even though I don’t live there anymore. It’s always with me, in my bones… There are these ideas about the South that are really dangerous—that it’s a place where time has stopped, that it’s mired in the past.” Jesmyn Ward wants to show that the South is not just a place full of history, but a place where people are living and dealing with complex issues like poverty and racism.
Jesmyn Ward’s novel, “Sing, Unburied, Sing” was published in 2017 and it won the National Book Award for Fiction. The novel follows the lives of the black family, the Levesques, living in Bois Sauvage, Mississippi. The family consists of13-year-old Jojo, his younger sister Kayla, their mother Leonie, and Pop.
When we first meet Jojo, he is telling us about his dead father, Michael Turner. Jojo states, “I like to think I know what death is… But sometimes I think I only know what dying is, and that death is something else entirely.” This view of death continues to be explored throughout the novel as various characters deal with their own mortality.
One of the main themes in Jesmyn Ward’s “Sing, Unburied, Sing” is how the past haunts the present. This is seen in how Jojo is constantly thinking about his dead father and how he never really got to know him. Michael Turner was killed when Jojo was just a baby and all he has are memories of what others have told him about his father.
However, these memories are not always accurate or positive. For example, Jojo’s mother tells him that his father was a good man, even though she knows that he wasn’t. Jesmyn Ward writes, “She wants to remember him as a good man because it’s easier that way, maybe, or because the truth is too ugly to face.”
Jesmyn Ward also explores the theme of racism in “Sing, Unburied, Sing”. The novel is set in Mississippi which has a long history of racism. Racism is seen in how Jojo and Kayla are treated by their classmates at school. It is also seen in how Pop is treated by the white people he works for. Even though Pop is a hard worker, he is still not given the same respect as the white workers. Jesmyn Ward writes, “They call him boy and nigger behind his back, though to his face they call him Pop, the name his own children use.”
Jesmyn Ward’s “Sing, Unburied, Sing” is a novel about family, love, loss, and how the past haunts the present. It is a beautifully written novel that explores the complicated lives of black people living in the American South.
By employing strong language to describe the conclusion of the opening paragraph, the author emphasizes the tearing away of an undetectable animal. The invisible creature can represent society’s destruction of people because it tears apart someone until they are nothing more than shattered pieces.
In addition to vocalizing foreshadowing elements we see throughout the book as to how racial prejudice will affect the various characters, “separate innards from muscles, organs from cavities” expresses this motif.
Jesmyn Ward’s debut novel, “Sing, Unburied, Sing,” takes the reader on a journey through the lives of people who are struggling to find their way in a world that often seems determined to hold them back. The novel centers around the lives of Leonie, her partner Michael, and their children Kayla and Jojo.
While the family is struggling to make ends meet, they are also dealing with the aftermath of a tragedy. Michael was arrested for possession of drugs and is now serving time in prison. This has put a strain on Leonie, who is trying to raise their two kids on her own.