Study Guide

Blood Red Road Family

By Moira Young


Chapter 1

Fer a long time, I couldn't stand even lookin at her. When Lugh says I shouldn't be so hard on her, I says that if it warn't fer Emmi, Ma 'ud still be alive. (1.70)

Saba makes no bones about the fact that she blames Emmi for their mom's death. That's pretty messed up. We love Saba and all, but the way she treats Emmi is our least favorite aspect of her character. For real. It makes us cringe harder than an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Before Emmi was born, when Ma was still alive an everythin was happy [...] I didn't think there could be anybody ever lived who was taller or smarter'n our pa. (1.13)

Saba's family has seen better days. We might argue that she has an overly idealized view of the past to a degree, but there's no disputing that they're in a rough spot. With Ma gone and Pa mentally absent, the kids are left to fend for themselves, which is a lot easier said than done in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Chapter 2

I wanna leave her by the side of the track an ferget she ever got born. I wish she'd disappear offa the face of th'earth. (2.42)

Tell us how you really feel, Saba. If you thought that the relationship between her and Emmi was tense before, just wait until you see how bad things get after Lugh is kidnapped. Without him to act as a go-between, things get downright nasty.

Chapter 4

Emmi's sittin up. She looks at me, her blue eyes bright in her dusty face. An I wonder why I never noticed it before. Her eyes is jest like Lugh's. (4.197)

As the girls travel, however, Saba finds herself softening toward Emmi. She doesn't get too soft, of course—Saba will still get all bratty whenever she pleases—but she's finally able to appreciate some aspects of her little sister, especially those that remind her of her beloved Lugh.

Chapter 7

Lugh ain't jest yer brother, He's Emmi's too, he says. Don't you think she's got as much right to go as you? (7.196)

Jack has a point, as usual. Saba has spent a lot of time whining about how bad she feels with Lugh gone, but she hasn't paid any mind to how it might have affected Emmi. He was the only sibling that was actually nice to her, after all.

It sounds so awful when she says it like that, that I never had no time fer her, but she's right. I didn't. Not when I had Lugh. (7.226)

Besides the whole mom thing, Saba has issues with Emmi because she never needed her. She had Lugh, right? But that's just plain old selfishness in our book, and Emmi deserves a whole lot better from her sister—the main woman in her life.

If it'd bin Emmi they took, he says, Emmi an not Lugh...would you of gone after her? (7.243)

The answer to this one, as we all know, is a resounding no way. To her credit, however, Saba freely admits this and genuinely works on being a better big sister to Emmi.

Chapter 8

I said...that Lugh sounds too good to be true. (8.53)

Now ain't this the truth, Jack. We love Lugh and all, but Saba needs to lose her idealized view of her bro if they're ever going to develop an adult relationship.

Chapter 9

The King requires your life in payment, says Pinch. It's simple. You give yourself to him and they all go free. Your precious brother, your innocent little sister and your friends. (9.699)

And here we go, people—the moment of truth. Saba has proven time and time again that she's willing to risk (and even sacrifice) her life for Lugh, but now it's about Emmi. You know, Emmi—that annoying little sister Saba has been complaining about since we've met her. This is the moment that Saba finally proves her love for her sister by willingly giving up her own life to save hers.