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Bastard Out of Carolina Summary

Dorothy Allison’s debut novel Bastard out of Carolina tells the story of Anne “Bone” Boatwright, growing up in Greenville, South Carolina in the 1950s. American literature writers from Paper Masters can explicate Allison's novel for you in a custom written research paper. Our writers help students understand the complexities of contemporary fiction through providing a sample of exactly how a well-written research paper should be.

As the novel opens, Bone’s 15-year-old mother, Anney, is injured in a car accident, gives birth the baby girl, but unable to speak, it is found out that the baby is illegitimate, and has the word “bastard” stamped on her birth certificate.Bastard Out of Carolina Summary

Anney spends years trying to get the word bastard erased from Bone’s certificate, and is ridiculed by the customers at the diner where she works. After a brief marriage to Lyle, who is killed, Anney meets and marries Glen. At first, Glen is loving towards Bone, but soon becomes sexually abusive, often leaving Bone with bruises and broken bones. As the result of his anger issues, Glen loses his job and the family’s fortunes plummet.

Anney chooses to continue with Glen even though she knew in no uncertain terms that Glen had raped her daughter. Thus, the narcissist is often in bed with those that turn a blind eye:

  • Anney turned a blind eye
  • Bone did not want her mother to know.

Among the many themes of the novel there are the following main ones:

  1. Allison is indicting
    1. The abuse that Bone receives
    2. The complacent attitude that her mother takes toward the abuse. 
  2. In world of Allison’s Carolina, a woman like Anney needs a protector and provider. 
  3. Glen is a protector for Anney, and so she turns a blind eye to the rape and abuse.

When Anney discovers the abuse, she leaves Glen, who promises to reform his ways. Taken back, Glen resumes abusing Bone and eventually Glen’s two brothers beat him up after beating the girl once again. Anney leaves Glen again, and Bone declares that she will never stay under the same roof as Glen. Anney vows to Bone that she will not go back to Glen. Glen, angered, attacks and rapes Bone, but is discovered in the act by Anney. Glen once again begs Anney not to leave him, and caught between her daughter and her abusive husband, chooses Glen. In the hospital, Bone is visited by her aunt, who proudly displays her new birth certificate without the word illegitimate.

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