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Research Papers on Bastard Out of Carolina

How do you start a Bastard Out of Carolina research paper? Our expert writers suggest like this:

Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina is the story of a young girl—Ruth Anne “Bone” Boatwright—growing up in Greenville, South Carolina.  The Boatwright family is typical Southern white trash, and Bone is caught in the middle: she both defends them against outsiders because they are her family but longs to be rid of them completely.

A good research paper on Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison will include explication of the following themes:

  1. Bone's abuse and the rational behind the complacent attitude her mother takes
  2. The notion of legitimacy and the stigma of being illegitimate in a family and in society
Bastard Out of Carolina

Bastard Out of Carolina _Characters

Bone’s mother is Anney Boatwright, who was only fifteen when Bone was born, illegitimately and this sets up the plot. There is sexual abuse done to Bone by her stepfather, Daddy Glen, and deserted by her mother when Anney is forced to choose between Bone and Glen.  Among the many themes of the novel, Allison is indicting the abuse that Bone receives and the complacent attitude that her mother takes toward the abuse.  In this world, a woman like Anney needs a protector and provider.  Glen is that person for Anney, and so she turns a blind eye to the rape and abuse.

The second theme is that of legitimacy.  Bone is a bastard, yet the word becomes taboo in the household.  Anney fights to get the word “illegitimate” removed from Bone’s birth certificate because that is the only thing she believes can really do for her daughter: remove the stigmatism that haunts her daughter.  It is not Bone’s fault that she is a bastard, yet the community will never let her forget it or move past it.

Social Class and Bastard Out of Carolina

Allison’s use of these arguments provides a dramatic undercurrent to the entire novel.  Bone is made to suffer far beyond any normal child should.  Bone has been born into a brutal world, one gripped by an inter generational poverty.  We call her social class “white trash,” but Allison does not leave out the brutal details of what such an existence means.  Rather than being caricatures, these white trash people are filled with the whole range of humanity—the good and the bad—that both symbolizes and transcends their poverty.  Bone finds that her illegitimacy pushes her toward something she cannot quite find, and so she tries to fill the void.  Allison is using this search to apply the novel to the reader: every individual’s quest for identity.

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