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Unloading Burdens – The Story of Bone

The Christ may have been the first person to have pointed out to Bone that burdens may be unloaded on the side of good. Indeed, Bone is running away from a tormented past, including problems that he has created for himself, to live a good life; and this makes him an anti-hero by all means (Banks). Langer compares him to Holden Caulfield of The Catcher in the Rye, and Tom Sawyer. Bone has many adventures throughout Russell Banks’ Rule of the Bone. The fact that he is an anti-hero is revealed through his restlessness to leave everything that has pained him in the past.

Bone wants to be free, and he wants to enjoy a peaceful, good life (Banks). According to Langer: Bone becomes an outlaw child like Huck Finn. We meet him as he runs away from his painful family life and becomes a small-time marijuana dealer, struggling to face frightening adventures that force him to understand himself and his world. Lost, unloved and unattached to family or society, he sees his own death (he is believed lost in a fire) like Tom Sawyer, and the experience frees him (Langer).

It may be argued, however, that each of Bone’s experiences from the time he left his abusive home is a step toward freedom that he truly desires. Bone cannot be blamed for leaving his abusive home, regardless of the fact that he has a drug problem when he moves in with Russ and other individuals that are losers at best. The boy is seeking freedom from abuse, and this makes him a fighter for the cause of freedom, which is considered all-good. His decision to move in with losers is not a wise one. However, the reader must give Bone the benefit of the doubt.

The truth is that Bone is fed up of his abusive home (Banks). Leaving this burden behind is the act of an anti-hero who may use questionable means when he has to in order to attain his goals. Of course, Bone is seeking complete freedom from his painful past. In the process, he must leave Russ as well, an individual he had felt dependent on, but who nevertheless could not guide him to true freedom. After all, Russ was not ready to leave drugs. But, Bone probably had more on his mind when he left Russ behind. He moved in with I-Man, who happened to be a good influence on the young individual.

Bone was ready to stop feeling like a drug addict after leaving Russ and moving in with I-Man instead. It is at this point in the story that Bone reveals another time that he is an anti-hero indeed: freeing himself from the perpetual need for marijuana was yet another breakthrough for the protagonist of Banks’ novel. Feeling the need for marijuana most of the time was a burden that Bone was willing to unload by this time (Banks). Once again, Bone is fighting on the side of good, as he leaves an unhealthy habit so as to become a freer, less burdened individual.

Bone settles in Jamaica as an independent young man. He is able to do what he wants to do without having to obey others. But, the anti-hero is restless still. He wants to be freer than he feels in Jamaica. Always on the side of fighting for true freedom – Bone realizes in Jamaica that excessive freedom may not be healthy for him, seeing that it may corrupt individuals. Bone believes that Doc had been corrupted, so therefore he seeks another option to attain true freedom of the soul. The young man decides to return to America. He tells Russ that he would like to return to school.

Russ, at this point of the story, is revealed as a young individual that continues to think like a drug addict. By informing Russ about his intention to return to school, Bone does not only teach Russ about the goodness of true freedom, but also frees himself further. After all, Bone had decided that returning to school would help him lead a peaceful, good life that he has been longing to lead (Banks). Tormented by the thought of freedom without education – a thought that does not truly make sense – Bone once again reveals his anti-hero character when he desires to educate himself further.

Indeed, Bone is a very intelligent anti-hero. Although he is young, it appears as though he has already learned everything there is to know about living a good, peaceful life. It does not matter that he must move in with drug addicts at the time he decides to leave his abusive home. He had not considered all his options then. Slowly but surely, by meeting new people, Bone realizes more about what he truly wants. Getting rid of the burden of drug addiction is another breakthrough in his life.

Opting for education in place of imposing his free will to live a reckless life in Jamaica is another intelligent decision made by the anti-hero. What is more, for the reason that Bone displays his slow and steady learning about life throughout his adventures – his character is more realistic than that of traditional hero.

Works Cited

Banks, Russell. Rule of the Bone. New York: HarperCollins, 1995. Langer, Beverley. “Huck and Holden Meet Bone. ” San Francisco Chronicle. 28 May 1995. 22 Oct 2008. <http://www. sfgate. com/cgi-bin/article. cgi? f=/c/a/1995/05/28/RV45283. DTL>.

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