As any teenager will attest, one’s independence is the most important thing in life. Regardless of what you do, you have to be able to do it on your own, without being tied down to anyone else or having to rely on someone for support. This theme, of having total independence, is the most important aspect in Rule of the Bone, by Russell Banks. The protagonist of the story, Chappie (or Bone), develops this ability throughout his interesting adventures, and it seems to be the most obvious progression he exhibits. Rule of the Bone can be divided into three distinct sections. There is first the part where Chappie decides to leave his home and live with Russ, then the initial experience he had with I-Man, and finally his time in Jamaica. These sections represent Chappie’s development of independence, as he gradually is able to break free from having to stay with someone and not depend on someone for help. Additionally, one can see this progression through the way the author uses Chappie’s name—from being always called Chappie, to a mix of Chappie and Bone, to totally Bone.
Chappie is the stereotypical example of how one would expect a modern teenager to react if put in the same situation Chappie has been put in. He
Doc is immoral, a crook, and all he does is smoke marijuana every day. It should be noted that he is almost always calling himself "Bone" now, as it is the name that represents his independence. Considering my own experiences with friends and their marijuana habits, it is safe to say that I could not have identified with a better book. One of the best passages of the story is when Bone tells Russ that he has decided to leave Jamaica and go back to school, and Russ is amazed at what he is hearing. This is what led Russ to break off from Bone, because Russ knew that he was no longer the leader of the friendship, and therefore needed to start anew with someone else. Bone"tms time in Jamaica is what really defines his life. He realizes that too much independence is not good for a person, and it corrupts people. It is when he progresses from being a kid whose only goal in life was to smoke more pot, to an adult who knows that life is not all about getting pleasure. But the only problem is his dependence on Russ. But he also does not lead a "good" life, and Bone knows this. Earlier in the story, before he had developed this, Bone probably would have stayed in Jamaica. The development of Bone is most evident right here. During his time at home and with Russ, Bone was very greedy about the drug and would take as much of it as he could. It is here that he realizes that he is capable of doing things on his own, and yet he always has a friend whom he can talk to, while not be dependent on. This is because Bone knows that he has to go back to living a normal life, while Russ, who still thinks like a stoned teenager, feels that pleasure is the most important thing.