Reflection in Rule of the Bone

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Upon meeting someone whose life reflects our own we are given the chance to step back from reality and take a look at their life and ours. We capture the ability to see a clearer idea of where our life may lead us and what it has already become. Russell Banks uses this vehicle of parallelism in Rule of the Bone between Froggy and Chappie. Banks shows readers the similarities of their lives through their history of sexual abuse, the captivity they are held under and the releasing of their souls by I-Man in order to show what may have been in Bone's life if he had not learnt to ‘live' it.

Froggy and Chappie share each others' pasts. Their father figures affect them in similar ways, shaping them into the people they are before meeting I-Man. These ‘fathers' have many similarities, further tying Froggy and Chappie's pasts closer together. While in reality Ken and Buster Brown are not Chappie and Froggy's fathers, they have taken over the fatherly position. Ken is Chappie's stepfather and has "legally adopted" (2) him while Froggy was sold to Buster Brown by her mother, making him the man in Froggy's life. Chappie's stepfather, Ken, "is supposedly from Ontario" (27) and Chappie at first suspects that Buster Brown "must be Canadian" (27). Chappie describes both Buster Brown and Ken as "so smart" (34). These affinities between Ken and Buster are even greater once the reader discovers that Buster Brown has been "doping [Froggy] for his porn movies" (138) since she was sold to him and that Ken has sexually abused Chappie earlier on in Chappie's life without anyone becoming the least suspicious. Froggy and Chappie share a history of sexual abuse, both are haunted by it and are ruled over by it.

Even though these two are in desperate situations, they are not able to free themselves from the men who torment them. Froggy, a definite "rescue operation" (142), is unable to escape from Buster Brown and his moviemaking business because, as Chappie figures, "[Buster] must've...
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