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            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 has an abusive stepfather, a nagging mother, a drug problem, and he hangs out with "bad influences." Banks starts off with Chappie rebelling against these circumstances and leaving home to go live with his friend Russ and some older junkies/thieves. Banks presents the first twist, by showing how Chappie is not really happy with living in this way, and if he could, would leave and do something else. This aspect of Chappie's character shows that he is not such a "bad kid," and in fact has some good intentions. But the only problem is his dependence on Russ. Later on in the novel, particularly the scene at the Ridgeway's house, Bone realizes that not only does he not need Russ, but the relationship between the two has switched so that Bone has adopted the position of leadership, and is making some of the most important decisions in their adventures.

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