Leila The Live Bone

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 10th grade February 2008

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BONE offers its readers a chance to peer into the world of Chinatown in San Francisco. There are many gossipmongers among Chinese people. No one could stop others from observing each other's businesses. It is why gossip serves as an important information network that keeps the people connected. Everybody knows each other's stories including Leon's family. Amidst the gossipmongers' community, there lives Leila with her separated parents, Leon and Mah. Leon moves out after Ona jumped off the last of the four housing projects built in Chinatown, Nam Ping Yuen. Mah, on the other hand, does not feel that, the suicide is a thing to be gotten over. In essence, Ona's death causes the family to fall apart almost to a point of dysfunction, just as a whole body cannot function properly when one part or one bone is missing. However, besides the parting between Mah and Leon, BONE introduces a character, Leila who plays a role as a bone that links in various ways.

Leila's explicit role as a bone could be extended into her family. She is the one who is attempting at keeping her family together after Ona's death. It is clear from the beginning that Leila worries about Leon and Mah, living separately. Therefore, Leila decides to tell Leon and Mah about her marriage with Mason. In the beginning, she looks for Leon in Chinatown. Nonetheless, since he is not there, Leila makes her way to the Square and then to The Universal where she eventually finds Leon. Since Leila is the bone connecting her family, she chooses to bring Leon along to meet Mah in telling her about Leila's marriage. Later, Leila finds out that Mah is upset by her late news. Despite Mah's anger, Leila's efforts on looking for her parents solely build up a conclusion about Leila. Indeed, she is playing her role as the bone that is keeping Leon's family structural together.

While Leila is exhaustively trying to keep the family together, she is concomitantly searching for the cause of Ona's decision to kill herself. Through flashbacks and reminiscences, Leila is digging up the bones to the past. The bones are her memories that connect the past, present, and future. Before Ona's death, Mah and Leon were giving her a hard time for going out with Osvaldo. Leila's memories show the suicide is Ona's own choice and Leila could finally accept her sister's fate. As the backbone in the family, Leila extends her memories to the family. Thus, not only do her memories connect the past and present, they also link the family skeleton where Leon, Mah, Nina, and Leila are eventually united by a common bond-the memories of Ona.

It is therefore, Leila, the bone, which again initiates the unity in Leon's family.

Besides being the oldest daughter in her family, Leila is also a community relations specialist at Edith Eaton School. While teachers are teaching in the classrooms, Leila is consulting the students' parents at home. In other words, she becomes the bridge between the classrooms' teachers and the parents. Therefore, she makes several home visits, mainly discussing the students' disciplinary problems and special tutoring with them. At the same time, she looks for the parents' participations in their children's welfares at the school. If one happened to gather Leila's works at Edith Elton School, they form one similar message to her works; Leila is nothing more than preserving the networks between the school and the parents. Hence, instead of merely being an implied bone in Leon's family, now, Leila's attributes also propose that she is also the bone at Edith Elton School.

Within the gossips in Chinatown about Leon's family and the 'creepy' feeling that Leila experiences at Edith Elton School, BONE happens to describe Leila as the one who connects two things, thus take the bone, the central theme into her position.

She may never notice that most of the time she is doing things in their ways while being good bones for her parents, her family and the Edith Elton School's administration.