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Bastard Out Of Carolina

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Paul Wright "Pay Attention to Detail" One must consider a little history on Dorothy Allison in order to see how the directions that she takes the novel add up. When she was 24, Allison lived in a lesbian-feminist collective. The women there gave her the confidence she needed and the ability to see the value in her own writing (Amazon.com). During this time, she also found someone who seemed normal, yet she had experienced the same "incest" (Megan 74). This discovery removed some of her separation that she believed her abuse created between her and the world (Amazon 74). Allison actually was born a "bastard" (Amazon 78), and her life was further complicated through dealing with her "brutal" step-father (Amazon 76). When she began writing, her goal as a writer, especially in Bastard Out of Carolina centers on having "compassion" and no "rage" (Megan 75). Allison hoped to further her goal in this book by making Bone appear to be able to survive through making others take ownership in the wrongs that have been dealt to her (Megan 73). Through Bone, Allison could comprehend how her childhood could have been better, so she would not raise her child in the same manner (Megan 75). In writing Bastard, she also learned how to turn a poem into a novel, a valuable skill for one who usually begins writing poetry (Megan 72). ...read more.


The fire symbolizes her anger toward Daddy Glen. She tries to free herself of him and her anger. Similar to Bone, Shannon Pearl is, too, an angry child. She has born as an albino and is incessantly teased by almost every person that she meets. A deep wrath grows for all of those who ever hurt her. Shannon dies at a remarkably young age when she burns to death. The fire that consumed her was the very fire of anger that was burning inside of her. Fire also destroyed the town courthouse in the novel. The courthouse held all of the town's files and records. Anney continuously went there to try to change the label on Bone's birth certificate that read "ILLEGITIMATE". Time after time, Anney was denied her requests to change the certificate. As she keeps failing, she gets angrier and hateful of the court. Soon after, the courthouse burns down to the ground by a mysterious fire. Anney's wrath was represented by fire, just as in the two prior cases. Another important theme throughout the novel is the use of hands. Dorothy Allison uses the image of hands to show the power Daddy Glen holds over Bone and her family. They physically represent the abuse Bone suffers. From the beginning, Bone is wary of his hands, she notices "the restless way the fingers would flex and curl while he watched her" (Allison 62). ...read more.


The role she is forced to play by the people surrounding her includes a protective sister, an abused and frightened child, and a daughter fighting to win the affections of her mother. The last proves to be her most defining, it is the desire to experience her mother's love that fuels her thought and actions. Bone keeps silent about Daddy Glen's furious beatings and threats. The sorrow and loneliness that she faces during this time determines whom her mother shows Bone that she cannot depend on anyone. They will leave her for another, even one who has caused more anguish than possibly tolerable. Bone decides, somewhat consciously, to become like her Aunt Raylene-strong and independent of others. She survives, as she has already survived the worst, in order to become a young woman without ties, dependence, or a strong sense of family. Her identity is based on her inner strength and the desire for survival that helps her to sand up to the man who tries to destroy her. In conclusion, we saw how in writing Bastard, she also learned how to turn a poem into a novel, which created themes present in the novel and in order to have truly gotten an appreciation of Bastard Out of Carolina, by Dorothy Allison, one must have taken a close look at the main concepts: Abuse, Fire, Legitimacy, Social Class, Hands, and Identity; to see how they all played a role in the overall tone and personification of the book. ...read more.

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