Study Guide

Bastard Out of Carolina

Bastard Out of Carolina Summary

Ruth Anne "Bone" Boatwright is born out of wedlock to fifteen-year-old Anney and has "ILLEGITIMATE" stamped on her birth certificate. Anney tries multiple times to get a new birth certificate without the stamp, but with no success.

The extended Boatwright clan is a tough but poor bunch living in Greenville County, South Carolina. Anney works long hours in a diner to support her daughters after her first husband dies in a car accident.

Anney's brother introduces her to Glen Waddell, the youngest and least successful son of a dairy owner. Over the course of a few years, Anney allows herself to trust him and let him be a father to her daughters.

When Anney gets pregnant with Glen's child soon after they are engaged, Glen is elated. But, as she's giving birth, Glen molests Bone in the car in the hospital parking lot. Anney's child is stillborn, and she can't have any more children.

Glen's temper, already volatile, becomes even worse, and he can't keep a job. The family is almost always strapped for cash in, and they're constantly moving.

Glen starts physically and sexually abusing Bone on a regular basis, dragging her into the bathroom for minor offenses and beating her savagely with a belt.

Outside of her home, Bone has a loving extended family made up primarily of three maternal aunts (Alma, Ruth, and Raylene), three uncles who are regularly in jail for fighting (Earle, Beau, and Nevil), her tough ol' Granny, and an ever-increasing number of cousins. They offer her various kinds of sanctuary from the unhappiness of her home life.

As Bone grows older, she goes through various phases: moving from school to school, being called "trash," befriending an albino outcast girl named Shannon Pearl, temporarily finding religion through gospel music, stealing, breaking into a store, taking care of her dying aunt, and starting to go through puberty. Her life, though, is still threaded through with abuse from Glen.

After Bone ends up in the hospital, Anney leaves Glen until he swears never to hurt Bone again. The abuse starts up again, and Bone becomes withdrawn and angry. She doesn't tell anyone about it for fear of upsetting Anney.

On the day before Aunt Ruth's funeral, Glen beats Bone particularly savagely. The next day, after the funeral, Bone gets drunk for the first time. Her Aunt Raylene finds her in the bathroom and sees the blood on her legs. She shows Bone's uncles, and they beat up Glen.

Anney leaves Glen again, but Bone blames herself for the breaking up the family and for Anney's quiet anger. Bone tells her mother that she will never live with Glen again. Anney understands but is at a loss as to what to do.

While Bone is staying with her Aunt Alma, who recently suffered a breakdown, Glen shows up while Bone is alone in the house. He blames her for the fact that Anney left him, and he violently beats and rapes her.

Anney walks in and starts screaming and throwing things at Glen. Then she drags Bone to her car while Glen begs for forgiveness. However, she ends up pressing Glen's face to her stomach and crying.

When Bone gets out of the hospital, no one knows where Anney has gone. While Bone is staying with her aunt Raylene, Anney shows up with a birth certificate for Bone that doesn't have "ILLEGITIMATE" stamped across the bottom. She tells Bone that she loves her and leaves. Bone doesn't understand Anney's actions. She wonders what kind of person Anney was before she had Bone, but she knows what kind of person she herself is going to be when she grows up.

  • Chapter 1

    • Talk about having it rough from the beginning. Ruth Anne "Bone" is born when her fifteen-year-old mother Anney goes through the windshield of a car in an accident.
    • Anney, being the tough girl she is, sleeps through the accident. Unfortunately she also sleeps through the making up of the birth certificate, and her mother and sister inadvertently reveal that Anney isn't married to the father—and aren't really sure of his name. So Bone is "certified a bastard by the state of South Carolina" (1.5).
    • Anney hates that Bone's birth certificate says "ILLEGITIMATE," thinking that it reinforces the idea of her family as trash. A year later Anney, goes into the courthouse to get a new birth certificate. The clerk brings out one that is identical to the first, eyeing her with judgment as he does, and Anney leaves without it.
    • Another year goes by and Anney, goes back to the courthouse with Aunt Ruth. They are met with the same result.
    • Next Anney meets Lyle Parsons, a sweet and pretty man, and marries him. She quits her job as a waitress at his request. Soon Anney is pregnant and has another daughter named Reese.
    • Lyle dies in a car accident when his truck goes off the road. Anney is nineteen at the time. After the funeral, her sister Ruth tells her that nothing else will ever hit her that hard, and that she is now as old as she's ever going to look.
    • When Reese is two years old, Anney picks up Bone's birth certificate paperwork and goes to a lawyer. The lawyer can't do anything about it, either. That's right, folks, the conflict isn't going to resolve itself in the first chapter.
    • Back working at the diner, Anney always has smiles and sharp wit for her customers, but they mask the pain she carries after Lyle's death.
    • Earl, Anney's brother, introduces Anney to a co-worker, Glen Waddell, bringing him to the diner one day. Glen is seventeen, and even though he comes from a relatively well-to-do family, he is nervous and doesn't seem like he'll amount to much.
    • Anney serves Glen some seriously good food, and Glen starts to feel like a man. Glen is polite to Anney when Earle is around, but when Earle's in the bathroom Glen stares at Anney lustfully. Glen wants to be tough and dangerous like Earle... and to shame his family by marrying into the Boatwright family. Talk about insecurity.
    • Meanwhile, on Anney's side of things, Anney looks back at Glen and sees that there's something off about him: his smile is crooked and his eyes bore into her. At the same time, she thinks about how she needs a husband and a father for her two girls.
    • When people ask Anney about Bone's birth certificate, she snaps back at them. Granny tells her to let it go because only then will people stop using it to get a rise out of her. Anney puts on a biting exterior, but no one knows just what she is really thinking or feeling.
    • Anney and Glen's relationship develops slowly. He drives down to the diner almost every day to see her and tells her that he wants to meet her daughters. Anney starts to let herself trust him and thinks that maybe he'll make a good father.
    • One day, by complete and utter coincidence, the county courthouse and the hall of records burn down. Anney rushes home from the diner and burns Bone's birth certificate in the sink. All over town, members of the Boatwright family start to laugh.
  • Chapter 2

    • It's a hot, hot summer as usual in Greenville County. Bone is five years old but solemn and watchful, especially compared to her often-naked toddler cousin Little Earle. She's being watched by her Granny, along with some of her other young cousins.
    • Little Earle runs around doing and saying toddler things and wreaking toddler havoc. Granny, Temple, Patsy Ruth, and Grey tease him and lovingly call him ugly.
    • As the evening comes on, and Bone waits for her mother to come get her, she thinks about those summer nights on the porch and says that "no place ever felt so much like home" (2.21).
    • Bone's uncles, Earle, Beau, and Nevil, are manly men with lots of proverbial chest hair. They do manual labor, drink hard, and carry knives and tools, but they are loving and gentle with their nieces and nephews. They tend to get away with things as though they were overgrown boys, while Bone's aunts are usually left to clean up after them. Bone adores her uncles and steals broken tools and knives in an attempt to be like them.
    • Earle is Bone's favorite uncle. He's earned the nickname "Black Earl," either for his black hair or his black heart. He's macho and muscly and kind of looks like Elvis, so it's not surprising that he's also a chick magnet. His Catholic wife Teresa left him for messing around with other women.
    • Bone doesn't know anything about her father. Granny tells her that he lives in Blackburn with a wife and six kids and was a sorry excuse for a man who hadn't been in jail a day of his life. (As you will learn, dear reader, the Boatwrights have their own standards of character.)
    • Alma tells Bone that a week after she was born, her father came to see her, and as he was holding her and looking terrified, Bone peed all over him like he was nothing. The only thing Bone has of her father's is his dark hair.
    • Granny tells Bone about her great-great-granddaddy, a Cherokee man with black hair and black eyes who may have had another family in Eustis. She tells Bone how her grandmother was obsessed with the man, and how he was gentle and quiet and never hit his wife or his children. According to Granny, this means that he wasn't a real Boatwright.
    • Even though Bone is also quiet, Earle reassures her that she is definitely still a Boatwright, even if she's the strangest girl in the family and the only one with black hair.
    • Alma and Anney do each other's hair, bleaching and perming it.
    • Bone looks at Anney and Alma and thinks about how she doesn't look like either of them, even though they insist that she does. Bone asks Anney if she (Bone) looks like her daddy, and Anney is silent.
  • Chapter 3

    • Glen starts coming over to visit. Usually, Anney goes out to the porch after his visits to smoke a cigarette and look off into the distance thinking deep thoughts. Anney worriedly asks Bone if she likes Glen.
    • Sometimes Anney takes Bone and Reese with her to the diner, and Bone watches the truckers and younger men flirt with her. The older ones compliment her on her daughters; one of them says that Reese looks like Anney, and that Bone must look like her father. Ouch.
    • When Glen comes to see Anney at the diner, he carries Bone and Reese out to the car, where Anney has made up a bed out of blankets in the back seat. Bone prefers it when her mother tucks her in, but Anney seems to like it when Glen does it.
    • Anney dates Glen for two years. Sometimes she takes Bone and Reese to the RC Cola plant where Glen works loading cases into trucks. Glen has a nice body, and it especially shows when he's doing heavy labor.
    • Even though Glen is slender, he has disproportionately large hands. Anney describes him as gentle, but her sisters don't seem to see it. Bone can tell that Anney is falling in love with Glen.
    • One day, while Anney and the girls are waiting for him to finish work, Glen comes over and declares his love for the three of them. He takes them all into an embrace and tells Bone to call him Daddy. He begs Anney not to say no, and though she seems unsure she relents and agrees. Glen whoops and swings Anney around the parking lot.
    • Granny doesn't like Glen. She says that there's something wrong with him.
    • Glen takes everyone to the lake for a picnic. Alma has a new camera, but Glen doesn't want his picture taken.
    • Earle thinks that something is off about Glen, too, like how he doesn't seem to mind when Earle bad-mouths Glen's people. Bone says that Glen is the quiet sort who "never fought in friendly style" (3.30).
    • While the family poses for a picture, Bone runs into the bushes and watches them from the porch. Everyone looks a little tense, except for Earle and Reese. Anney calls for Bone to stand with her and Glen, and Alma takes the picture.
  • Chapter 4

    • Anney marries Glen in the spring when there are thunderstorms every afternoon (cough bad omen cough). Granny says that it's no time to be marrying, and Earle keeps asking Anney if she's sure.
    • The two zany Eustis aunts, Marvella and Maybelle (they think they can tell the future from their beans, whatever that means), turn down the wedding invitation and keep saying ominous and creepy things about the marriage, even though they want Anney to be happy. They do some weird ritual to make a love knot out of hair and rabbit's blood, telling Anney that she should keep it under the mattress of her new bed, but Anney, kind of weirded out, puts it in the utility room.
    • Now, anyone who has ever seen a horror movie knows that you probably shouldn't ignore the weird prophecies of seemingly crazy people, but, well, this isn't a horror movie. Yet.
    • While Anney and Glen are on their honeymoon, Bone gets Alma's picture album and looks at the photos from the picnic. She's startled by the sharpness of the group photo... and by how Glen's eyes tell nothing about him.
    • On the day of the picnic, Glen had kept putting his hands on Anney's belly, and Alma had teased Anney that she'd better get married before she started showing. Bone wonders if Glen knows that Anney is pregnant and recalls an impatient note in his voice that she had never heard before.
    • Glen wants Anney to have a son, and he seems positive that she will. Earle congratulates Glen, but later tells Beau that if Glen ever got the notion that someone had messed up his chance of having a boy, he'd go crazy.
    • Nevil, who is usually quiet, says that he hopes Anney gives Glen half a dozen sons, because there's something bad about Glen, and Anney has had enough hardship in her life.
    • When Anney goes into labor, Glen waits with Bone and Reese in the car in the hospital parking lot. While it's dark and Reese is asleep, Glen pulls Bone up to the front seat with him and molests her as he talks about how they're all going to be happy.
    • Bone sobs. Glen lets her go and laughs. He puts her back with Reese in the back seat, listens to the radio, and smokes.
    • When Bone wakes up in the morning, Glen is gone. She wonders if it was all a dream.
    • Glen comes out of the emergency room with a rigid face. He gets in the car and tells Bone and Reese that Anney can't have any more children, and that his baby boy is dead. Bone holds Reese while Glen cries.
    • When Anney gets back from the hospital, her sisters come to see her every day, but everyone steps around Glen, who's silent.
    • They name the baby Glen Junior and bury him in the Boatwright plot because Glen can't afford a plot of his own. This, says Bone, is what "finally broke his grief and turned it to rage" (4.43).
    • Glen announces that he found a house far away by the railroad tracks and that they're all moving. Alma isn't pleased. Glen tells Anney that they don't need anybody else.
  • Chapter 5

    • After they move, Glen tells Anney that when he has enough money, he's going to adopt Bone and Reese. Reese calls him "Daddy," but the word sounds strange to Bone, and she thinks about the incident in the hospital parking lot. When Bone cries, Anney gathers her up, and Bone sees Glen watching with his mouth set in a straight line and his eyes icy.
    • Glen doesn't like Bone and Reese listening to the stories Granny and Alma tell. He tells them they're his kids now. Glen's father owns a dairy, and his older brothers are a lawyer and a dentist. Glen tells Bone that Granny is a liar and warns her to stay away from her.
    • We meet Bone's favorite cousin Butch, who is a year older than Bone and different from the other cousins in that he has a strange sense of humor and no temper.
    • Butch and Bone talk about race in the Boatwright family. The issue of mixed race is something that people in Greenville County don't like to discuss. One of the girls from the Yarboro family (who are their own level of crazy) calls Bone the n-word, and Bone pokes her in the eye.
    • Reese's grandmother on her father's side, Mrs. Parsons, has a farm that Anney and the girls occasionally visit, even though Mrs. Parsons doesn't seem to think very much of Anney. Mrs. Parsons is your typical granny—she's soft-spoken and wears an apron. Bone can't help but compare her to her own riotous Granny.
    • Glen doesn't like the girls going up to see Mrs. Parsons, thinking that she bad-mouths them. Mrs. Parsons had two other sons who died within a year of Lyle and is left only with a distant daughter and some brothers waiting to sell off her land.
    • Glen is determined that Reese should get a share of the land, and when Mrs. Parson's brother, Matthew, comes by with some papers for Anney to sign, Glen takes the papers and says something to him out of Anney's hearing. After Matthew drives off (angrily), Anney nervously asks Glen if he said anything rude to him. Glen reassures Anney and tells her that they need to make themselves clear. He tells her not to sign anything if he's not there.
    • Mrs. Parsons calls later that night, and Glen takes the call. Anney goes out to the porch to smoke a cigarette. Anney tells Bone that sometimes you have to do things you wish you didn't have to, and that while she doesn't want to hurt Mrs. Parsons, she has to let Glen handle it. When Glen gets off the phone, he says that now they understand how it's going to be.
    • Two weeks later, Mrs. Parsons shows up while Glen is away and gives Anney two hundred and fifty dollars, claiming that it was for Lyle's time in the army (though it sounds like an excuse). Reese asks Mrs. Parsons if she's going to get a lot of money, and Mrs. Parsons responds that she won't, and that she doesn't care.
    • Anney invites Mrs. Parsons in for iced tea, and Mrs. Parsons cries that she was afraid that they weren't going to let her see Reese anymore. Anney is shocked, and the two of them embrace while Matthew waits in the truck with his head turned the other way.
    • After Mrs. Parsons comes inside, she relaxes a little, brushing Reese's hair and saying that she looks like her daddy. Reese keeps her father's picture hidden in her underwear drawer away from Glen, and she likes being compared to her pretty father. Bone is jealous that Reese has another side to her family.
    • The money she brought, says Mrs. Parsons, is all the money that there's going to be for Reese, because she signed her property over to Matthew after her sons died. Anney says she knows and that she had never expected to get anything.
    • Mrs. Parsons leaves with Matthew, and just as their truck is rounding the corner, who should appear but Glen. As he pulls into the driveway, everyone is tense. Glen demands if Anney signed anything, and she says that she would never unless he had looked at it first. Satisfied, he and the family go inside.
    • Earle jokes that when Glen's mad, he'll use his huge hands like pickaxes, and then he goes on to describe the big size of Glen's (ahem) other parts.
    • Glen seems to be jealous of the bond that Bone and Anney have, and he's always watching Bone whenever she gets close to Anney. Glen tearfully complains to Anney that Bone doesn't love him. Anney reassures him, and then they start to kiss. Bone goes outside because she knows that when they start to kiss they'll go into the bedroom for at least an hour.
    • Reese complains to Alma that Glen and Anney like to do it a lot, and Alma responds that everybody does. Bone thinks about sex, and wonders whether that was what Glen had been doing to her in the parking lot. She masturbates to a fantasy of being tied in a haystack that is on fire.
    • Glen doesn't do too well at his job, and he and Anney struggle to pay the bills. Glen keeps saying that his brother James will pay him for some work he did for him at his office, and when Glen is finally laid off, Anney suggests asking James for that money. Glen says that he can't, because James never asked for Glen's help or said anything about paying him. Seeing that he is frustrated, Anney reassures him that they can get help moving from her family.
    • The family moves at least every eight months into places that they can't afford. It makes Bone feel unimportant; they are always moving again before she even gets to know the names of her teachers at her new schools. One day, she gets so mad that she chops holes in her mother's dish barrels, and Anney scolds her by telling her how much they cost.
    • Money is always an issue in the household, and Anney is always juggling which bills can be paid and which will have to wait. Rent, food, clothes, and shoes are all expenses they can barely afford. Bone, now nine years old, suddenly wants patent shoes, but Anney laughs because both she and Bone know that it's way out of their price range.
    • Bone wishes that she could just act out instead of behaving all the time, but her mother's laughter shames her into silence. Bone feels self-conscious about how she and Reese dress compared to other girls and wonders if Anney cares. When she sees Anney balancing her checkbook, Bone knows that she cares and hates all of it.
    • One winter, the family stays with Alma, and Bone feels a new rage come onto her. At her new school she tells the teacher that her name is Roseanne Carter, and that she moved from Atlanta. She doesn't know why she lies, but is relieved when she moves again to a new school.
    • Earle loans some money to Anney, and Glen is infuriated. He screams at Anney that he's a grown man who can support himself and then doesn't speak to the family for a week. Earle says that Glen has too much pride and that everyone needs to help each other in this life. Bone thinks about how she has seen Earle less and less since Anney married Glen; she wishes they could just live with Earle.
    • That night, Glen sleeps on the couch and refuses to speak to anyone. His anger lasts for weeks, and he complains that nothing goes right for him. When Anney tries to reassure him at dinner one night, he screams at her to shut up.
    • Everyone freezes, and Reese begins to sob. Bone stands up, not sure about what she intended to do. Glen begins to cry and apologizes to Anney, who coos to him that it's all right. Glen looks at Bone and says that he knows how much Anney loves her. He squeezes her arm, giving her a bruise.
    • Anney exclaims that Glen doesn't know his own strength, and Glen says that he never meant to hurt Bone. Bone wonders about whether or not she believes him, and she thinks about Glen's fearful hands. They haunt her dreams.
  • Chapter 6

    • Bone thinks about hunger, and how when she gets hungry her hands will not stand still. When Reese is hungry, she cries.
    • Bone and Reese pick up bottles on the side of the road to buy Anney cigarettes, while Anney gives home perms to old ladies from the diner. Even though they aren't hungry very often, Anney has started making biscuits-and-gravy dinners more frequently, sometimes with tomato soup or pork and beans right out of the can because the power company turned off their electricity.
    • Once, when there's no flour for biscuits, Anney makes the girls crackers spread with ketchup and tells them about how when she was a girl her siblings would pass around a plate and make up food. This calms the girls down, but when Glen comes home Anney is furious at him for being so casual about finding a job.
    • Anney declares that she was never going to have her kids know what hunger was, and she goes into the bathroom to put on makeup, a tight sweater, and high heels. She tells Bone to call Earle to come pick them up, but Bone just watches her instead.
    • When Anney is finished she steps around a stunned Glen, who can't seem to move. Anney gets into her car and drives away.
    • Glen runs out to the driveway. Bone feels uneasy, as if Glen's skin is radiating heat, and runs to the neighbor's yard, where Reese is playing. Bone says that they'll hitchhike to Alma's house.
    • Worried that Reese will start hitchhiking by herself, Bone makes up horror stories about murderous drivers. They catch a ride with an old woman and a young man.
    • When Anney comes back, Reese is asleep and Bone is doing a puzzle with Uncle Wade. Anney is now wearing a loose white shirt, her waitress flats, and has her face is scrubbed clean. Before she gets in the car she whispers "Damn!" to herself. Bone, looking back toward Alma's, sees Wade standing in the kitchen looking angry, and wonders why.
    • Back home, the kitchen is suddenly filled with food. Anney fries up some late-night eggs and tomatoes for the girls. In the living room Glen is sitting in front of the TV with the sound turned low, balling his fists on his thighs. Bone is too tense to feel hungry, but she eats as much as she can, anyway. Meanwhile, Anney talks as if nothing has happened.
    • Afterward, when Anney puts Bone and Reese to bed, she sits up with them for a long while. Bone wakes up to Reese's frightened face and the sound of Glen's angry voice down the hall.
    • The next week, they move again, to another small, damp house. Bone's aunts Alma and Ruth are always moving, too, but to big rickety houses with chicken coops and walnut trees. Glen wants houses with carports and garbage disposals.
    • Bone doesn't care where they live as long as they can stay close to their aunts, whose warm and lively houses contrast with the iciness of Glen's.
    • The houses Glen picks are cheap imitations of his brothers' houses, and he complains that no one wants him to have anything nice. He gets into "one of his dangerously quiet moods" (6.44), and Reese and Bone try to keep the house and yard as clean as possible so as not to anger him.
    • Every time they move, Glen tells the girls that things are going to be different, but Reese and Bone know better than to believe him. He tells Anney that "it eats a man's heart out" (6.46) knowing that no one trusts him, and blames them for making him get into fights at work and losing his jobs, because, yeah... it's totally their fault.
    • Sometimes bill collectors bang on the front door, and if Anney is home, she sits at the kitchen table silently until they leave. Anney tells the girls that they can't always pay when people want, but they aren't bad. Bone and Reese nod but don't believe her, knowing the things the neighbors call them.
    • When Bone is nine, Alma moves out to an apartment when she catches Wade messing around with other women. Bone, Grey, and Little Earle stare at the kids downstairs, who are black, and Grey boasts that those kids are scared.
    • Bone instead sees symmetry in the three faces staring up and their own three faces staring down. She sees a face that is either a pretty boy or a fierce girl, and then she looks at Grey and notices how ugly he is. Bone looks back down at the child, whom she is now sure is a girl, and tries to smile but can't.
    • After a while, Bone and her cousins become something like friends with the kids downstairs, but the mysterious girl never comes out to play. Bone has never really spoken to a black person, and she knows the nasty things that people, especially her family, say about them. Wade is furious that Alma moved to a black neighborhood and rages at her to her face, but Alma just laughs and looks better than ever. She says that Wade is worse than a boy, the way he wants stuff done for him all the time.
    • We learn from Earle that Carr, Anney and Alma's sister, was in love with Wade, but one Thanksgiving Wade joked in front of her that Alma was the sweeter, younger version of Carr. Yeah, that's not awkward. By Christmastime, Carr had married a man named Benny in Baltimore, and she had a baby by the next fall. Earle looks off across the yard and muses about how quickly people grow up and change.
    • Eventually, Alma moves back in with Wade after the baby gets sick and the boys start running around at night, but she refuses to move back into the bedroom or speak to him until he apologizes.
    • Even then, Wade complains to everyone, telling them that a man has needs and that Alma was pregnant at the time. Everyone jokes about his excuse, and the aunts say that if a man has needs, then what does a woman have? "Men," they answer, and laugh. Bone doesn't get the joke, but she likes being one of the women.
  • Chapter 7

    • One afternoon, Anney sees Bone produce two Tootsie Rolls for her and Reese, and she confronts Bone tearfully about where they came from.
    • Bone lies and says that they came from Uncle Earle. Then she says they came from Aunt Alma. Finally, she admits she stole them from the Woolworth's counter with Grey and Garvey.
    • Anney tells Bone about Tommy Lee, Ruth's oldest son, who has stolen from everyone in the family. When he was younger, Anney says, he would steal candy and give it away, thinking that it made people like him. Now he has an excuse for everything, from why he beats his girlfriends to why he can't keep a job. Bone remembers Grey telling her with pride about how he learned to break locks from Tommy Lee, but she is ashamed at the thought of anyone who would steal from his or her own mother.
    • Anney and Bone get in the car. Looks like it's time to apologize. Anney tells Bone how when she and Raylene were girls, they picked strawberries for a man and hid the unripe ones under ripe ones so that it looked like they were all ripe. Granny found out, bought up all of the green unripe ones, and made Anney and Raylene eat all of them until they were sick. Bone says that Anney must have hated Granny for it, and Anney is silent for a moment before saying that there's no other way to do it.
    • Anney and Bone go to the Woolworth's candy counter. Anney pushes Bone toward the salesgirl and says that she has something to say. Bone starts to cry. Anney just waits, and then the manager comes over. He looks like he's going to laugh at them, and Bone suddenly feels anger.
    • Bone tells the manager that she stole the candy and that she's sorry, but inside she hates him.
    • The manager says that it's lucky that her mama found out when she did, and that to help teach her the seriousness of her crime, he's not going to let her come back to Woolworth's until her mama comes in and tells them that she has learned her lesson.
    • Bone feels Anney's anger and knows that Anney is never going to come near that place again.
    • Bone looks around and feels a hunger at the back of her throat—a feeling she gets every time she passes Woolworth's or goes to visit Glen's family.
    • Glen's brothers' wives stay at home instead of working, and their husbands speak badly of women who work. Earle and Beau say that Glen's father is awfully proud for a man who runs cows, but Glen tells then not to say anything about his daddy. Glen complains about his family but then justifies how they behave. He makes Anney and the girls visit his family every other month, even though it's obvious that Glen's family thinks that they are beneath them.
    • Whenever Glen is around his father, he loses confidence, gets nervous, and stutters. Bone tries to reconcile the two images she has of Glen in her mind: the one of Glen screaming at her, and the one of him with his head hanging in shame in front of his father.
    • Glen's family isn't as big as the Boatwright family, but they're always having birthday parties for somebody. Bone and Reese stay outside while the spoiled Waddell children run in and out of the house, tracking mud on the rugs and screaming. Bone and Reese keep asking Anney when they can leave, but there is always an excuse for why they have to stay.
    • Bone looks at the nice house and everything in it and wants to be worth it all. She hears Daryl and James looking at her mother's Pontiac and calling it "nigger trash," saying that Anney and the kids go with the car.
    • Furious, Bone walks over to the rose bushes. She starts pulling buds off and picking them apart.
  • Chapter 8

    • The family moves to West Greenville because of Glen's new job at a uniform plant. While they're moving, Anney finds the weird love knot that Maybelle and Marvella gave them for their wedding. It's been eaten up, and it falls apart when Anney tries to gather it up. Yay symbolism.
    • That week, Marvella wakes up to a nightmare, and Maybelle wakes up to find that a dog had dug up their honeycomb. Yay, um, weirder symbolism?
    • The new house is far away from the rest of the family, so Anney starts leaving Bone and Reese home alone. The new house is nice but more expensive, so Anney takes on a few extra hours. Glen's job, on the other hand, doesn't seem to be working out so well, and Anney tells the girls to be quiet and stay out of his way when he gets home.
    • Glen's hands seem to be always reaching for Bone, and he watches her like she's something strange. When she's running through the house, he grabs her and tells her not to run around like a racehorse.
    • Bone and Reese play racehorse when Glen isn't home, instead, but one day he comes home without them noticing. He throws Bone against a wall and then drags her into the bathroom and beats her with his belt. Outside of the bathroom, Bone can hear Reese and Anney screaming.
    • When Glen opens the door, Anney slaps him and calls him a son of a bitch while she washes Bone's face. Glen says that Bone is his daughter too. As Anney soothes Bone, she asks Bone what she did, and Bone wonders why Anney thinks that she is at fault.
    • Bone wakes up to Anney and Glen's voices. Anney is crying in Glen's arms and he is telling her that Bone said that she hated him. He says he went crazy, that he never meant to beat her that hard... and then he tells her that he was laid off. Bone wonders if he believes his own lies, and Reese whispers to Bone that she had better be careful.
    • Glen's temper is as volatile as ever when he gets a job that pays him even less. Bone stays out of the house as much as she can when Glen is home and Anney isn't—but if Bone is home, Glen is always finding some reason to beat her or molest her.
    • Bone doesn't know how to tell anyone about it, or even how to describe what it is; she feels ashamed and uncertain. Bone becomes even more terrified of him and his huge hands, and wishes that she were stronger, so she could fight him back.
    • Glen has a falling-out with Earle, and he starts bad-mouthing the Boatwrights. Bone doesn't like how he talks, but Anney doesn't defend her family. She even sometimes agrees with Glen.
    • Whenever Glen beats Bone, Anney just stands outside of the bathroom and afterward tells Bone not to be so stubborn. Bone doesn't know what more she can do, because it seems to be her sheer existence that makes Glen mad.
    • Glen is careful to hit Bone when no one else is around, and only occasionally when Anney is around if there is an "excuse" for it. Bone keeps getting hurt, and can't explain why to Anney, who thinks that maybe Bone is fragile.
    • Bone masturbates to the thought of people watching her as Glen beats her. When Glen beats her in real life she screams and cries, but in her fantasy she is defiant, and feels as though she is being beaten for the people watching. Her fantasies get more violent and complicated.
    • In real life, Glen has set aside special belts just for beating Bone. Bone lives in a world of shame, thinking of herself as sick and disgusting for masturbating to the fantasy of being beaten, but it's the only world in which she can defy Glen.
    • Bone's collarbone gets broken a second time—under the pretense of an accident—and the doctor who X-rays Bone confronts Anney about how Bone could have broken her tailbone.
    • The doctor looks at Bone's face and says that she can tell them the truth. He looks at Anney angrily and mercilessly, knowing that Bone has been beaten.
    • Anney's face fills with terror. When Bone tells Anney to take her home, the doctor pounds on the bed with his fists and leaves. The nurse apologizes and says that he hasn't been at the hospital for long, but Bone knows that the nurse knows what is going on.
    • Back in the car, Anney says that they're going to Alma's house. She gives Glen a look that freezes him, and he follows her around the car and begs her tearfully to talk to him. She shakes him off when he tries to touch her and drives off.
    • Bone imagines the doctor coming out to the parking lot, confronting Glen for beating Bone, and almost running Glen over with his car. She imagines Glen following them to Alma's house and confessing his sins to the entire family, who refuse to forgive him. In the car she tries not to cry. She apologizes to Anney, who says that she didn't do anything wrong.
  • Chapter 9

    • Two weeks later, the family is back living with Glen, and nothing has changed.
    • Glen apologized in front of the family, and Anney made him swear never to hit Bone again. Bone knows exactly what will happen: he'll be careful, but then he'll talk about the accident differently, making it sound like Bone had really deserved it. He still brings her into the bathroom to beat her to get back at her for making Anney leave him. Bone is afraid of hurting Anney and doesn't let her know that Glen has started to abuse her again.
    • Bone feels something inside of her that can't heal, and she becomes withdrawn and angry. Anney starts letting her sit up with her at sunrise, which is usually her alone time.
    • Reese and Bone go to Alma's house after school, before Anney comes back from work. Bone entertains her cousins with gruesome stories about rape and murder and dead babies—fun stuff.
    • Anney starts taking Bone to the diner with her where she can earn money washing dishes. Bone spends her money on used books.
    • One morning, Anney says she's worried. Bone thinks that she's going to talk about how withdrawn she's become, but instead she asks her if she will stay with Aunt Ruth that summer. Ruth has cancer and lives alone now. At first Bone is unsure, but then she agrees to go.
    • Ruth has become incredibly thin and has lost most of her hair. But the biggest change that Bone notices is how much Ruth talks now; before, she had been quiet and soft-spoken.
    • Ruth mostly stays on the couch, and Bone suspects that her real role is to provide Ruth with an audience.
    • Ruth talks Bone's ear off about her husband Travis, about her family, and about all of the stories that Bone once was salivating to hear. But now all Bone can think about is when Anney is going to take her home.
    • One day, Bone tells Ruth that Glen hates her. Ruth asks Bone if she's dying. Bone lies and says that she's only really sick, and Ruth asks Bone if they can talk to each other or not. Bone doesn't know, but Ruth says that she thinks that they have to.
    • Ruth has Bone sit next to her and tells her frankly that Glen doesn't like her very much, and that he's probably jealous of her for the way Anney loves her. Ruth asks Bone if Glen has ever touched her, and Bone, thinking that she is alluding to sex, says no. She instead just says that Glen sometimes grabs her and shakes her when she's bad, and she admits to Ruth that Glen scares her. Ruth rocks Bone against her breast and asks aloud what they're going to do with her.
    • While Ruth naps, Bone scrapes the paint off of her front porch for her Uncle Earle, who is reminiscing about the past. He tells Bone about his father, who didn't take care of his family.
    • Earle notes that he and his brothers are a lot like him, though not to the same degree, and they don't get away with as much. He says that's why his wife, Teresa, left him, and wonders how relationships can get so messed up—he and Teresa, his mother and father, Anney and Glen, even Ruth and Travis.
    • Ruth tells Bone about the family past that she doesn't know about, like about Lyle Parsons, about Bone's real father, and about Glen's courtship of Anney. Ruth also tells Bone a story about how Beau and Earle were thrown out when they tried to enlist during the Korean War, so they naturally reacted by getting into a fight.
    • Bone says that Beau and Earle are drunks. Ruth agrees, though she says that they think being drunk is natural.
    • Ruth talks about how Beau developed a taste for beer by going out with Raylene to a roadhouse when he was a teenager. Earle says that beer is not the problem in Beau's life: it's his wife Maggie, who is frail and always pregnant.
    • Ruth and Earle get into an argument about what drives Beau to drink, and it ends with Ruth hugging Earle tearfully. Bone is envious of their connection.
    • Anney comes to get Bone at Ruth's, and while Bone is getting iced tea in the kitchen, she overhears Anney and Ruth whispering about how well Glen is doing at the new job his father gave him. Ruth asks if Glen has asked about Bone, and Anney replies that it's as if Bone never existed.
    • Ruth tells Anney that Bone is never going to be safe with Glen. Anney defends Glen, saying that he didn't get enough love from his father, and he just needs to know that he is loved.
    • Bone comes back onto the porch pretending that she hasn't heard the exchange between Ruth and Anney. Anney wants to talk about when Bone can come home again, but Bone says that she thought she was going to stay until school started. Ruth concurs, and Anney agrees that Bone will stay.
    • In August, a revival tent goes up a short distance away from Ruth's house, and Bone goes over to sit outside and listen to the preacher rave. Bone looks at the men drinking on the side of the highway and wonders if her own face resembles the coldness and sorrow in theirs.
    • Bone remembers Alma saying that it's good Bone is smart because she's not pretty. She also remembers her mother telling her that people can see your soul in your face. Bone wonders how she isn't uglier, considering all the hatefulness she hides.
    • The gospel music from the tent envelopes Bone, and she becomes overwhelmed with emotion.
    • Bone feels like apologizing for everything that is and isn't her fault; the music makes her love and hate herself at the same time.
  • Chapter 10

    • Bone starts getting into that good ole gospel music. Tone deafness seems to run in the Boatwright family, but Ruth and Bone love to sing along to records.
    • School starts for Bone, and Ruth's daughter Deedee moves in with her. Deedee doesn't seem to care that her mother is dying, and when Bone confronts her about it, Deedee responds that she has been taking care of her family her entire life and just wants to be on her own. Bone doesn't understand Deedee's feelings.
    • After school, Bone walks over to the West Greenville Café and dreams of being a gospel singer, noting the fine line between singing about God and singing about an unfaithful lover.
    • Unfortunately, there is nothing redeeming about Bone's singing voice. When the family goes on road trips they all belt out songs in the car, not caring how they sound.
    • Bone starts singing into a fan to hear her voice buzz, and Glen is about to reach for her when Anney stops him.
    • Still, Glen keeps looking at Bone.
    • Bone thinks about how Glen hasn't found her alone in a while, and she can almost convince herself that Glen fondling her never happened.
    • Granny doesn't encourage Bone's gospel singing or her new interest in religion. She says that Bone looks like her granddaddy and tells Bone that his two faults were that he couldn't work and that he couldn't stay away from gospel singers. She calls him a bastard, and then quickly catches herself because Anney doesn't like that word. She tells Bone not to take gospel music too seriously.
    • Granny sighs, and Bone thinks how she likes Granny better when she's mean. Bone gets her to laugh instead.
    • Anney worries about Bone's new interest in religion.
    • Alma sees it as a phase that all girls go through. Bone tries to get Alma and Earle to go to church with her, but they don't go for it. She also gets into arguments with Earle over religion, who goes on about his ex-wife, the Catholic Church, the Baptists, and the county marshals.
    • Bone loves how Earle talks about Jesus, finding in his words the same yearning and intensity of gospel music.
    • The family members each respond differently to Bone's insistence on saving them. Uncle Beau condemns "[g]oddamn women and their goddamn churchgoing ways" (10.66); Anney, who gets a new record player from Earle, listens to the same gospel song over and over again and cries.
    • Bone, getting nowhere with her family's salvation, turns to her own soul. She goes to fourteen different Baptist churches on fourteen Sundays and is almost saved fourteen times, but she just doesn't feel it.
    • Finally, Anney has Bone baptized at Aunt Ruth's church, and Bone catches a (literal) fever. While Bone is sick, she revels in the promise of blood and violence of the Book of Revelation.
  • Chapter 11

    • And so we meet Shannon Pearl.
    • Bone has seen Shannon and her family at the revival tent: her father books singing acts for the gospel circuit, and her mother works at a campy religious memorabilia store.
    • When Shannon gets on the bus, all the other kids mock her or shy away from her. Bone recognizes the rage in Shannon's eyes and lets her sit next to her and Reese.
    • There is an awkward silence between them before Bone can introduce herself to Shannon, because she has to wait until the whispered insults of the other kids dies down.
    • Through it all, Shannon sits quietly and cleans her glasses; she has a tendency to do this when she needs a quiet moment, or when she wants to ignore the cruel world.
    • Shannon is albino, and her mother is constantly crooning over her and calling her an angel of God. Bone waffles between being in awe of Shannon's hardness against the world and being disgusted by Shannon's spoiled smugness.
    • Still, Bone feels the urge to fiercely defend Shannon from her tormenters, who in this case is pretty much everyone.
    • Literature has taught Bone that a person who is ugly on the outside is beautiful on the inside, and she expects that of Shannon.
    • Talk about a rude awakening: Shannon's favorite pastime is telling gruesome stories about children who fall in front of farming equipment, and she "simply and completely hated everyone who had ever hurt her" (11.20). So much for familiar tropes.
    • Shannon's parents are equally grotesque: both of them are short and pale, and look "like children dressed in their parents' clothes" (11.21). Mrs. Pearl generates most of the family's income by sewing and embroidering costumes for gospel performers, but they still have to take up collections from sympathetic congregations in order to pay for Shannon's medical bills (something that Bone can't imagine doing).
    • But hey, Bone is not one to miss out on free gospel concerts, and so she travels with the Pearls.
    • Shannon, on the other hand, makes fun of preachers and choir singers. She also makes fun of the many ways her mother has of saying "God" and "Jesus." Mrs. Pearl is very religious and likes to talk about how everything is a blessing, but Shannon and Raylene prefer talking about Mrs. Pearl's non-existent sex life.
    • Shannon and Mrs. Pearl say polite things about Bone's family, but Bone senses that they still have a sense of superiority. It reminds her of Glen's family's attitude about the Boatwrights.
    • At the gospel shows, Mr. and Mrs. Pearl are somehow oblivious to all of the very conspicuous drinking and sex that goes on backstage among the singers. Even when Shannon gets tipsy and falls onto Mrs. Pearl's sewing machine, Mrs. Pearl blames the weather. When someone spills whiskey on Mrs. Pearl's sleeve, she just talks about how frail souls need a little help.
    • Shannon and Bone go under the stage to listen to music, and suddenly the smell of whiskey and the loud noise makes Bone sick. She crawls out and starts to puke.
    • As Shannon is comforting Bone, a man sees them and exclaims. Shannon tells him that Bone is fine, but the man stares at Shannon and calls her the ugliest thing he has ever seen.
    • Bone lets loose a slew of impressive curses at him, until Mrs. Pearl shows up and everything gets really awkward really quickly.
    • The man is one of the gospel singers, and Mrs. Pearl is very impressed by him. Bone looks into Shannon's face and sees terrible hate. She thinks that if there is a God, then there will be justice for all the people who have hurt Shannon and herself. As they're walking back to the car, Shannon and Bone whisper "someday" to each other.
    • Mr. Pearl goes to small towns to hear prospective singers, and though many of them are sub-par, Bone is envious of the ones that are good and wonders why God hadn't made her a gospel singer.
    • One day, on a particularly boring trip with the Pearls, Bone and Shannon are out in the woods when Bone hears a churchful of beautiful gospel voices. She says that they need to go back to tell Shannon's father, but Shannon angrily replies that the sounds are coming from a black church and that her father "don't handle colored" (11.114).
    • Shannon uses the n-word, and this makes Bone furious, remembering how she herself feels when Aunt Madeline calls Bone "trash" when she thinks she can't hear.
    • Shannon goes on to call Bone's family "a bunch of drunks and thieves and bastards."
    • Uh-oh, there's that word again.
    • Some fierce name-calling ensues, and Bone almost hits Shannon on more than one occasion before stopping herself.
    • Finally, after Shannon has called Bone "trash" and Bone has tripped and hurt her hand on a clay pot, Bone brings out the big guns and calls Shannon ugly. No going back after that.
    • Needless to say, the friendship is over.
  • Chapter 12

    • After her falling-out with Shannon, Bone loses her religion.
    • Reese has grown older and now has become tomboyish and argumentative with Bone.
    • Bone notices that Reese has started masturbating as often as Bone herself does. Each seems to know what the other is doing, and they give each other privacy.
    • Bone also sees Reese playing in the woods one day with a sheet tied around her like a cape, imagining attackers. Both Bone up in the tree and Reese on the ground separately play-imagine that they are being sexually assaulted.
    • Things are tense these days: Bone and Reese are fighting, Glen has had his route changed to a partial schedule and is fighting with his father, and Alma and Wade are fighting, so Anney decides to send Bone to stay with her Aunt Raylene. Bone says that Anney has never sent her to Raylene's before, and Anney gets defensive about what other people might have said to her about Raylene.
    • Garvey gives Bone a ride to Raylene's, all the while telling her about his new job with a mechanic. Bone thinks about how Grey and Garvey aren't smart, and how they'll eventually quit school and wind up in jail for something silly. She contemplates the possibilities of her own future and thinks about how bleak it is.
    • Raylene is different from her other sisters: she's unmarried, childless, and keeps to herself, living out past the city limits. Earle tells Bone that Raylene was wild when she was young and ran off with a carnival. Butch tells Bone that when Raylene was with the carnival she cut her hair, dressed as a man, and called herself Ray.
    • Bone is envious of how men can go roaming around and admires that Raylene did it, but she still notes that Raylene has some scars behind her ear that she won't talk about and that she sometimes gets a sad, thoughtful look on her face.
    • Raylene doesn't keep a very active social calendar, but Ruth says that she is perfectly satisfied with her own company. The uncles and boy cousins drop by her place often. Raylene is also said to be the best cook in the family.
    • Back in the day, people would throw their trash into the river, and it rises around Raylene's house. Raylene puts Bone to work helping her collect it, and then gives her a cut of what she earns selling it on the side of the road. Raylene likes Bone because she's not afraid to take chances or get dirty.
    • One day, Bone's cousin Patsy Ruth is helping her collect river trash when she finds something big and shiny.
    • Thus begins the saga of the hooks.
    • There are two hooks, each four-pronged. Grey insists that they're for mountain climbing, but no one believes him. Nevertheless, they tie a rope to one and launch it at Raylene's house in an attempt to climb onto the roof.
    • This doesn't sit very well with Raylene, who is not very happy that holes have been gouged in her house. She tells the kids that the hooks are for trawling drowned bodies out of the river, and locks the hooks up in her cellar.
    • Bone dreams about the hooks and comes up with ghoulish stories about them until Patsy Ruth starts getting nightmares. Still, Bone wants to have the hooks near her.
    • Bone starts spending a lot of time at Raylene's, helping her can fruits and vegetables, and one day she sneaks down to the cellar and brings up one of the hooks. In the kitchen, Anney and Raylene are talking about Glen and how he is (yet again) struggling to make money.
    • Raylene complains that when she worked for the mill, they made her work on the line rather than letting her fix the machines, which she was better at.
    • Raylene then reminds Anney of the time the sheriff tried to take away Alma's furniture, and Alma started screaming and throwing her clothes at him. All the while, Alma's daughter Temple was standing in the yard as if nothing were happening, trying to get Alma out of the house quietly so that it wouldn't seem to the neighbors that they couldn't keep up their payments. Both women remark on the strange streaks of pride that children have.
    • Bone, looking at them, thinks about how old and worn they look, even though Anney is only twenty-five and Raylene less than a decade older. Bone wishes that she could be more like them, easier in her body and less angry.
    • One day, while Bone is helping Raylene can fruits and vegetables, Grey comes into the kitchen with a huge smile on his face, and Bone knows that he has found the hook. In order to get Grey on her side and swear him to secrecy, Bone tells Grey that she has a plan for the hook that he can't tell anyone about: she is going to use it to get up to the roof of Woolworth's and break in.
    • That night, Bone cleans and polishes the chain of the hook and masturbates with it, wrapping it around her and feeling safe.
  • Chapter 13

    • Bone moves back home with Anney but takes the hook with her and hides it.
    • Anney tells Bone that Shannon Pearl called, but Bone has no intention of calling her back.
    • Anney doesn't know what Bone and Shannon had fought over, though Mrs. Pearl called Anney to tell her that Bone hadn't apologized for taking a swing at Shannon.
    • Shannon calls Bone again and invites her over to a barbeque at her house, though not before stating that she is not going to apologize. Shannon's voice sounds desperate, and she tries to entice Bone with the new record player she has. Bone says that she'll think about it.
    • Bone doesn't intend to go to Shannon's barbeque, but when the day comes, she walks to Shannon's house. Thinking about Earle, Bone notes that he is in jail for a fight, and that he got into more fights with the other prisoners, who shaved his head.
    • Bone comes up to the Pearls' backyard, where there are a lot of people eating. She sees Shannon standing by herself over by the grill, looking like she has been crying. Shannon is wearing a garish dress that makes her look even fatter, and Bone sees one of Shannon's cousins run by and whisper to her that she looks like a hog.
    • Bone suspects that she is Shannon's only friend and thinks about how she doesn't really care about her enough to be her best friend. But when she thinks about Shannon's "stubborn pride" and "righteous rage" (13.57), she understands her. She starts to climb over the fence and sees Shannon reach for the can of lighter fluid.
    • In the next paragraph, a sheriff is questioning Bone about what happened, and Mrs. Pearl is screaming at her. As Shannon was spraying the fluid on the coals the can sucked up air and flame back into it, and it exploded. Shannon caught on fire and burned up.
    • Bone goes to Shannon's funeral. (We are also told that Glen has started drinking). Mrs. Pearl is her same oblivious self, talking about how Shannon was always a friend to the less fortunate, how she loved babies, and how she could sing. Bone thinks about how Mrs. Pearl doesn't understand anything.
    • Bone looks at Mr. Pearl, pale and sipping something (probably not water) from a paper cup, and wonders if they would have come to her funeral if she had been the one in that ball of flame.
    • Mrs. Pearl begins to moan, and the priest desperately signals for the choir to begin singing.
  • Chapter 14

    • Things don't get easier for poor Bone.
    • After Shannon's death, Reese is now closer with Patsy Ruth, Bone doesn't have enough clothes to wear to school, Earle is still in jail, Alma has been laid off, and Ruth's cancer is getting worse.
    • Bone is also going through physical changes. She feels awkward in her growing body and wants to be beautiful like the pale and frail heroines she reads about in books. Instead, she feels like her and her aunts' bodies are the hardened bodies of working women.
    • When Alma gives Bone a picture edition of Gone with the Wind, she gets even more downcast when she realizes that she can't compare herself or Anney to the beautiful Scarlett O'Hara (calm down, Bone, we can't all be Vivien Leigh). Instead, she thinks they're all like Emma Slattery, the "trash" character.
    • Glen is in a bad mood (surprise surprise), so Anney tells Bone to go over to Alma's after school for a few days. Bone wonders how long it has been since she has seen Anney not tired, sad, or scared.
    • Bone feels a rage inside of her that she doesn't know how to account for. She envisions herself as dangerous and imagines cutting Glen's throat with a razor.
    • At dinner, Glen yells at Bone for how dirty the bathroom is. After dinner Bone scrubs the tub and then takes a bath, scrutinizing her body in a mirror and thinking that she has nothing to be proud of.
    • When Anney is out of the room, Glen jeers at Bone about how she is lazy, spoiled, and not special.
    • Glen's comments make Bone feel useless, in spite of the fact that she is hardworking and smart.
    • Yet as much as she hates Glen, Bone also wishes that he would just love her as a father. Bone thinks that Glen must feel the same way with his own father.
    • Over the Christmas holidays, Bone plays with her cousins at Alma's house. She's the ringleader who makes up games like the Dalton Girls and "mean sisters," in which they pretend to be the mean sisters of famous outlaws or soldiers. Alma and Wade laugh at them, but Bone doesn't care and plays the game for all she is worth.
  • Chapter 15

    • Bone goes with Raylene to visit Earle in prison.
    • Grey and Garvey have recently had their first encounters with the law, and Raylene says that if they get into any more trouble, they'll have to worry about her instead of the police. Granny says that Raylene would just bring them food in prison like she's doing for Earl.
    • Earle is skinnier and has made leather wallets and bags for everyone. He tells Bone how they tool the leather with blades and pallets and punches. Bone wants to ask him something, but Earle anticipates it and shows her the blade he has hidden in his pocket. Bone is proud to be his niece.
    • Back in the car, Raylene complains to Bone that Earle gets in trouble all the time.
    • Clearly not taking Raylene's concerns to heart, Bone finds Grey to tell him that it's time to use that hook.
    • Even though Grey and Garvey are twins, Grey is the more awkward-looking and hairy of the two (though he's also the sweeter one).
    • Grey meets Bone at Woolworth's past midnight and with the hook in a sack. He has painted the hook black, which angers Bone, but she deals with it because she knows that the only way to get into Woolworth's is through a vent that Grey won't fit through.
    • Grey throws the hook onto the roof, and Bone climbs up with no trouble. She has to go in through the exhaust housing and past the fan.
    • Bone hasn't been inside Woolworth's since she was caught stealing, and she still harbors feelings of revenge toward Tyler Highgarden, the manager.
    • Bone takes the hook with her into the vent for protection, and everything is going fine until the hook bangs against a metal pipe and swings out of Bone's hand, and both Bone and hook fall through the vent cover.
    • Bone falls through a glass countertop and lands inches from the hook, but she's somehow miraculously fine. She starts toward the candy counter, swinging the hook as she goes, and lets it go right through the case of nuts.
    • Bone lets an impatient Grey in through the front door, and he immediately runs in and breaks the knife case.
    • Bone looks around at all the cheap goods and realizes that she doesn't want any of it. She calls Grey, who now has a pillowcase full of cigarettes, and they leave, leaving the doors unlocked behind them.
    • As they're running, Bone and Grey see a group of men and yell to them that the Woolworth's doors are open. Bone is satisfied in the knowledge that by morning there won't be a counter that hasn't been cleared.
    • Having successfully pulled off the heist, Bone knows that she can scrape down the hook to its original sheen again. She imagines that, when she does, she will take off one night, and maybe pull up a rosebush from James Waddell's house while she's at it.
  • Chapter 16

    • The next day, nothing happens concerning the incident at Woolworth's, even though Bone keeps expecting something to happen.
    • Alma and Anney both spent the night at Ruth's, so all the cousins are being cared for by Temple.
    • Bone falls asleep while reading and wakes up to Anney's tear-stained face.
    • Bone is worried that she did something terribly wrong, but Anney instead tells her that Ruth died. Bone thinks about how, despite seeing how frail and thin Ruth had been, she had not actually expected her to die.
    • Anney reminisces about how Ruth pretty much raised her, how she was never pretty, and how she once said that she loved having babies because it was proof that she was worth something. Anney got angry at her then for thinking that she wasn't worth something on her own.
    • Anney tells Bone to go get her some cream for her eyes, and when Bone gets back Anney is crying. She hugs Anney, who asks Bone if she knew how much Ruth loved her. Anney says that she wishes she was sure Ruth knew of her own beauty.
  • Chapter 17

    • Reese can only think of wanting a black dress for Ruth's funeral, but Bone thinks about the summer she spent with Ruth and how, in the end, she hadn't been able to tell her about Glen.
    • Anney seems to think that keeping Bone out of the house and being patient with Glen will fix things, but Glen's abuse never goes away.
    • The day before the funeral, Bone is on the porch and doesn't hear Glen calling her. He drags her to the bathroom to beat her, while Anney screams on the other side of the door. Glen beats Bone savagely, but Bone resolves not to scream.
    • Afterwards, Anney is helping clean Bone up the blood and asks her why she had to yell at Glen like that. Her lipstick is smeared and her hands are shaking.
    • The night before the funeral Bone stays over with Raylene at Ruth's place. She is careful not to let Raylene see her legs.
    • On the morning of the funeral, Bone goes out to the porch where Ruth's daughter Deedee is sitting in her nightgown with her hair still in pin curls. Deedee comments on the music playing on the radio, saying that she hates hillbilly music, even though it was all Ruth would listen to. Deedee tells Bone that Ruth loved her (Bone) more than she loved Deedee.
    • When Raylene comes out and tells Deedee to go get ready, Deedee says that she isn't going to the funeral. Raylene slaps her across the face and tells her that she can whine about her mother that night or the next day, but right now she is going to the funeral so that she won't regret it in ten years. Deedee runs upstairs.
    • Earle shows up to the funeral drunk and with a young girl. Beau also smells like whiskey but looks sober. When he complains that the funeral hasn't started, Raylene says it's because they're waiting for Ruth's boys (Tommy Lee, Dwight, and D.W) to show up.
    • Beau doesn't think that they'll come, but Raylene just says that Travis (Ruth's husband) is just trying to do everything as Ruth would have wanted it. Earle and Beau go out to the truck to drink, which makes Alma angry, but Raylene just says to let them take care of each other.
    • Bone sees her cousin Butch at the gravesite and goes to stand by him. She sees Granny looking empty-eyed and slack-jawed and comments that the doctor must have given her something. Nevil, Earl, and Beau wait for the hearse to pull up so that they can carry the casket. Bone sees Dwight and D.W., but not Tommy Lee. Most of the rest of the family is there, but most of the seats are filled with women from Ruth's church.
    • After the funeral, Butch and Bone are sitting in the backyard at Ruth's place while Butch drinks whiskey and beer on the sly.
    • Butch gives Bone some whiskey, and she drinks deeply. When Butch refills his cup with beer, Bone downs that too. Butch asks her if she's trying to get drunk, and Bone responds by saying that they could get more whiskey from Earle or Beau.
    • Butch and Bone talk about the music Ruth loved, while Bone continues to drink.
    • Butch suddenly gets angry about how he and Deedee are emotionally handling Ruth's death. He kisses Bone on the mouth and asks her how old she is.
    • Bone is almost thirteen, and Butch says that he always liked her because she wasn't a fool like everybody else. He tells her not to make more out of the kiss than there is.
    • Bone gets up and carefully goes inside, experiencing drunkenness for the first time. Everyone is busy downstairs, and Bone goes down the hall into the bathroom.
    • While Bone's on the toilet, Raylene opens the door. Bone tries to stand up, but she's too drunk and falls back down.
    • Raylene laughs at Bone's drunkenness. As she is helping Bone stand up, something changes in her grip. Bone looks at Raylene, who is staring at Bone's panties where there is the brown stain of blood. She lifts Bone's skirt and sees the wounds on her thighs.
    • Raylene drags Bone into Deedee's empty bedroom and screams for Earle and Beau. Bone begs her not to, but Raylene tells her to be quiet and that no one is ever going to hurt her again.
    • Earle comes and sees Bone's wounds. Raylene says that she'll kill Glen.
    • Beau and Nevil come in and see Bone's legs, as well. Down the hall, there is a scream, a crash, and Earle shouting at Glen that he'll murder him. Beau and Nevil turn together toward the noise.
    • Anney comes in and holds Bone to her, telling her that it will all be all right.
    • Raylene asks Anney if Glen beats her too, but Anney says that Glen would never, that he loves her, that he loves Bone, and that she (Anney) loves him. Bone clings to Anney as she hears the sounds of her uncles beating up Glen on the porch.
  • Chapter 18

    • While Glen is in the hospital, Anney moves herself and the girls to an apartment over the Fish Market, not far from Woolworth's. Bone walks by and sees Tyler Highgarden looking stressed as windows and inventory are replaced.
    • Bone thinks that maybe she would have told Anney what she had done, but Anney isn't speaking to her.
    • The new apartment is small, Reese is angry, and Anney is silent. Bone feels like it's all her fault.
    • Glen shows up at the diner to try and talk to Anney, but she refuses. She applies for a job at the mill, even though Bone knows that she hates it there.
    • Bone goes outside and cries. She remembers how the last time Anney left Glen, it only lasted for a few days. She wonders how long it will last this time.
    • Anney doesn't let the girls go where she can't keep an eye on them. When Raylene comes over to try to talk to Anney, Anney tells her to leave them all alone for a while and doesn't let her in.
    • Bone hears Anney crying on the couch when she's supposed to be sleeping.
    • One morning, Bone goes to Anney seeking some kind of affection, but when Anney emotionlessly comforts her, Bone slaps her hand away and goes into the bedroom, where she refuses to speak. Anney becomes irritated with Bone.
    • Bone thinks about when Glen started to abuse her and wonders why Glen has always hated her. As she masturbates, she thinks about how little it mattered that she hadn't cried the last time Glen beat her. She remembers how Glen had pressed into her and wonders if he had been aroused while he was beating her. The thought makes her feel sick.
    • Bone cries herself to sleep and dreams about being younger, when she was unquestioning about Anney's love. She wakes up calling for her mother, but Anney has gone to work.
    • Bone looks at her hands and thinks about a purifying fire burning Greenville. She masturbates to the thought.
    • When Bone wakes up in the afternoon, she finds a note from Anney in the kitchen that tells her not to go anywhere. Anney will be home by dark, and that they can talk then.
    • Bone is fearful and doesn't know what to say, so she leaves.
    • Flashback! Fay, Nevil's wife, had been the one to drive Glen to the hospital after Bone's uncles had beaten him up. Glen had been silent through the whole thing. When Anney had taken Bone downstairs to leave, none of the uncles looked at her, though Earle embraced both of them until Anney pushed him away. Raylene and Alma kept trying to get Anney to stay with one of them, but she stopped them and just said that she knew what she had to do.
    • Bone and Reese spent the night in the car while Anney packed things up at the house. Then Anney drove the family to the train station; they slept in the parking lot there. At daylight, Anney took the girls to the diner while she went to rent an apartment. She moved so quickly that there was no time to ask what was happening, but Bone knew.
    • Back from the flashback, Bone sings as she walks to Raylene's house.
    • Raylene is gardening on her porch and doesn't seem surprised to see Bone. She mentions that Earle is staying on her couch after the young girl at the funeral kicked him out.
    • Bone says that Anney told Glen that Earle has become a cradle robber. She is surprised to hear herself mention Glen.
    • Raylene complains about the young women Earle goes for, whom he doesn't have to impress.
    • Bone tries to defend Earle, but Raylene says that it's cruel how he takes up with women briefly and then never divorces them. She comments on how many children he has probably fathered and scoffs at Bone when she says that Earle told her none.
    • Bone gets very defensive of Earle and says that he only marries those girls because they want it so badly, and that he loves them more than they deserve. Raylene tells Bone that she is seriously confused about love.
    • Bone asks Raylene how she's supposed to know anything about love when she comes from a family as ignorant and stupid as the Boatwrights. Raylene puts her hand on Bone's wrist and tells her that everybody is the same and just doing the best they can.
    • Bone replies that other people don't do things like get drunk and shoot each other, leave their husbands in the middle of the night, or live on the edge of town and sell junk by the side of the road.
    • Raylene crosses her arms and tells Bone that when she is thirty and supporting her own children and struggling to make ends meet, then maybe she can yell at Raylene. She tells Bone to go inside to clean up for supper, and that the biggest reason why she lives the way she does is because out there she can do as she pleases. She looks out past the highway like she is going to cry, but doesn't let herself do it.
    • Before she falls asleep, Bone imagines walking on an endless highway that goes north, with no one stopping her or calling to her.
    • After three days at Raylene's, Anney calls and tells Bone that she either needs to come home or start school there.
    • Reluctantly, Bone goes back to the apartment.
    • Anney doesn't talk to Bone about leaving, but sometimes Bone catches her looking at her with a painful, concentrated expression.
    • Reese tells Bone that Raylene and Anney almost got into a yelling match over the phone when Bone left, but that Anney gave in, saying that she didn't know what to do with Bone. Reese says that she doesn't know how Bone stands Anney being so angry with her, and Bone silently thinks that she doesn't understand it, either.
    • Two days later, Alma's sick baby girl dies. Raylene stays with Reese and Bone while Anney goes over to comfort Alma.
    • Bone hears Anney say that Alma loved Annie (the baby girl), even though she maybe knew that she was going to die, and it reminds Bone of Granny telling her how Anney had taken baby Bone down to the courthouse to get her birth certificate changed. Granny had said that Bone couldn't know how much Anney loved her, and thinking about Alma and Ruth and their children, Bone wonders if Anney still loves her. She also wonders what she will do when they inevitably go back to Glen.
    • Raylene and Reese make blackberry cobbler.
    • Raylene tries to talk to Bone about the paint-by-numbers sets she and Reese have, but Bone goes outside to watch cars pass.
    • Bone sees a bus full of children from Bushy Creek Baptist and glares at them hatefully.
    • When Raylene comes out, Bone tells her that she hates the way the kids look at her as if she's nasty. Raylene retorts that they look at Bone the way she looks at them. She tells Bone that she doesn't know anything about those children, and that because they are different, Bone assumes that they are rich and cruel. She points out that they could be looking at Bone with envy as she eats blackberry cobbler, and they could fearful of what she thinks about them.
    • Raylene tells Bone that instead of making up stories about other people, she should imagine what it's like to live in their houses.
    • Bone confronts Raylene about the rumor that she ran off with a carnival man she wasn't married to. Angrily, Raylene says that she did run off with a carnival—but for herself. She warns Bone about making her life out of pride and stubbornness and too much anger and tells her that she had better think hard about what she's mad at.
    • Raylene goes back inside, and Bone imagines being back in the West Greenville house that Anney loved. She imagines Glen joining the Pentecostal Church, getting a job that keeps him away from home, and Anney finding a relaxing job. She imagines a new dress for Reese, books for herself, Anney happy, and Glen coming home only often enough to make Anney smile. Bone falls asleep to this if-only dream.
  • Chapter 19

    • One day, when she is coming home from school, Bone sees Anney racing down the steps of their apartment. She gets into the car instinctively without asking Anney what is going on.
    • On the way, Anney tells Bone that Little Earle called because something is wrong with Alma.
    • When Anney and Bone get to Alma's house, Little Earle is waiting by the mailbox, streaked with dirt and looking terrified. Anney leans out the window and asks him if he's all right. He says that Alma is up at the house and has gone crazy.
    • Anney tells Little Earle to clean up and keep quiet, and Bone notes that she has never heard Anney talk to a child in such a hateful way. Bone hears a car behind them and sees Earle.
    • Anney pulls up into the yard and yells at Bone to stay in the car. Alma's and Fay's daughters are all standing by the fence, watching.
    • Then Bone notices that there are flower baskets, clothes, silverware and flatware, and various household items scattered around the yard.
    • Bone eases out of the car. Alma is hunched over on the porch, and Anney has her arms around her and is talking softly.
    • Alma is disheveled and smeared with mud. Bone notices that her nails are broken, and that what she thought was mud is actually blood. There are cuts all over Alma's arms and face, and broken glass scattered all over the yard.
    • Alma is waiting for "him"—meaning Wade—to get back.
    • Earle comes up and whispers to Bone to get away from there. He looks scared.
    • Alma says that she is going to cut Wade's throat, and shows Anney a razor in her pocket.
    • Anney tells Bone to get Alma a glass of iced tea and shakes her head at Earle. Bone notices how alike Alma and Anney look, in spite of their differences in age and weight.
    • Bone picks her way into the kitchen, past more destruction. The furniture has all been smashed. Bone gets Alma some iced tea. (Iced tea solves everything.) Out on the porch, Anney says that she and Alma are going to sit there for a while.
    • Later, when she is tucked in Patsy Ruth's bed, Alma tells Anney that she told Wade that she wanted another baby after hers died. Anney, Bone, and some of the other family have cleaned up some of the damage, which was extensive.
    • Alma is still holding the razor. Anney is talking to Bone as if nothing has happened and says that she should stay with Alma to help out. Alma keeps talking about Wade, about how he called her an old, fat, ugly cow he wouldn't touch. How could he treat her like that after everything she had done for him? Alma starts to cry, and Anney says something to her about Wade and Alma loving each other. Alma replies that it's because she loves him that she has to cut his throat.
    • Later, Earle, Garvey, and Grey are out on the porch smoking, sharing a beer, and talking about how (ahem) crazy and dangerous women are.
    • Earle brings up a shy young girl he once brought over who later tried to cut off his balls with scissors. When they see Bone listening, Earle tells her to get back inside and help her mother.
    • Bone sees how proud Grey is to be on the porch talking man-talk with Earle, and she recalls how after the Woolworth's incident, he had promised never to forget it.
    • Garvey reiterates what Earle said, and Bone snorts at how he's trying to act all big.
    • Late that night, Anney tells Bone how much she looks like Alma did when she was a girl, and she says Bone is going to be really pretty. She asks what it is that Bone is thinking about all the time, as if she is waiting for something.
    • Bone tells Anney that she is waiting for Anney to go back to Glen. Anney says that she couldn't stand it if Bone hated her, and Bone replies that she could never hate Anney, even though she is sure that Anney will go back.
    • Bone says that she knows Anney loves Glen, and that he's good to her and Reese.
    • Anney says that maybe Glen needs to talk to a doctor, and that she won't go back until she knows that Bone will be safe, but Bone says that she will never go back. Anney says that she won't make her. Bone reasserts that she will never live with Glen again.
    • Anney grips Bone and cries about what she has done. Then she agrees that Bone never has to go back. Anney goes back to her bed and lies down, but early in the dawn Bone hears her crying.
    • Bone herself feels like she will never cry again.
  • Chapter 20

    • Bone stays over at Alma's, and gradually Alma recovers.
    • Alma offers to give Anney the razor for peace of mind, but Anney tells her to keep it. Alma still doesn't want to see Wade, but apparently Wade is suffering enough at Fay's, with Carr nagging him all the time.
    • Bone, instead of starting at the country school, is given a list of books by her mother. Reese tells Bone that Anney has seen Glen a few times, but Bone tries not to think too much about the future. She enjoys the peace she feels at Alma's.
    • One day, Glen shows up to Alma's place while Alma is in the backyard and Bone is by herself on the porch. Glen looks a little unshaven, has a scar under his eye and seems to limp a little. He says that he is looking for Anney. He steps on the porch and comments on how Bone has gotten bigger and will start dating boys soon.
    • Bone offers to get him something to drink and tries to get inside as quickly as she can, but Glen is right behind her and tells her to make him a sandwich as well.
    • Bone is too afraid to move. Glen says that Anney said that she will come back after she has some time to make it up to Bone. He sneers that Anney loves Bone more than he can understand. He says that Bone is going to have to tell Anney that she wants them all to be a family again.
    • Bone tells him no, that she doesn't want to live with Glen anymore, even if Anney does.
    • Glen starts getting more threatening, telling Bone that he is the one who tells her what to do.
    • Bone tells Glen to leave, and when he doesn't, she says that she'll tell Anney. Glen grabs her and starts to shake her and lift her off the floor. Bone remembers all the other times Glen has done this to her, and this time she struggles to get free.
    • Glen laughs and says that Bone is the reason for all of his problems with Anney. Bone looks into his eyes and sees craziness, pain, and hate.
    • Glen punches Bone in the chin. He tells Bone that if Anney weren't coming back to him, he would kill Bone. Glen starts to run his hands over Bone and kiss her on the mouth. Bone has a butter knife in her hand and rams it into his side. Glen throws Bone against the counter, kicks her, and breaks her arm. He curses and blames her for everything.
    • Glen starts undressing Bone, who starts swearing at him as he does. Glen rapes her, choking her as he does so that she cannot scream. Inside her head, Bone screams to God that Glen will die.
    • Glen finishes and collapses on Bone. Bone looks past Glen at the open door and closes her eyes. When she opens them Anney is standing there.
    • Glen jerks up and screams Anney's name. Anney hits him with something. Anney screams, Glen begs, and Bone is afraid that Anney will think that she (Bone) wanted it.
    • Bone wants to get up and not let Glen hurt Anney. Anney is suddenly there with Bone, cooing over her and dragging her to the car. Glen follows them, begging Anney to wait, but Anney doesn't stop.
    • Bone thinks of Travis's shotgun at Ruth's house, and wants to get it so that she can kill Glen before he has a chance to kill her and Anney. Bone tries to tell Anney to take her to Ruth's, but Anney ignores her.
    • Glen is crying to Anney like a little boy and says that he didn't mean to do it. Anney puts Bone in the car and is going around to the other side, but Glen keeps pushing the door closed. Bone tries to reach Anney, but she can't move. She calls for Anney, and Anney gives Bone a strange, empty look and hits Glen.
    • Glen drops to his knees and wails for Anney to kill him. Anney's face is turned to Glen instead of to Bone, and she starts to cry and call Glen's name as she holds him to her. Bone keeps repeating "no," but Anney doesn't hear her. Bone, for the first time, feels hatred toward Anney.
  • Chapter 21

    • Alma keeps a scrapbook for when the Boatwrights makes it into the newspaper—like the time, for instance, Earle drove his car into a barbershop.
    • When Bone makes it into the scrapbook with a picture of her all bloody and bandaged, she thinks bitterly how she is a Boatwright for sure.
    • Anney drops Bone off at the hospital, and then disappears. Bone catches a glimpse of her face in the mirror and feels like she doesn't recognize herself and her sunken-in eyes.
    • The doctor looks at the bruises on Bone's thighs and seems to know what happened. He tells Bone to let him know if anything else hurts her. Bone doesn't know if he means it as a question or not, and doesn't say anything. She wonders where Anney is.
    • A deputy comes to see Bone and ask her about the incident. He looks young to Bone, as though he is trying to act older. He asks if Bone wants to tell him what happened. Bone wants to tell him but doesn't know how to, or where to begin.
    • The deputy tells Bone that she's going to be fine, and that her family is waiting outside. Bone asks hopefully for Anney, but the deputy says that she isn't there. The way he talks to Bone in a careful, constructed friendliness reminds her of Glen, and she refuses to say anything. She remembers what Raylene said to her about not judging people, but she hates the deputy regardless.
    • Speaking of Raylene, the door bursts open: it's Raylene wrestling with the nurse.
    • Raylene lays it on the deputy, demanding to know why he is interrogating a child when she is hurt and scared.
  • Chapter 22

    • Raylene stays with Bone all night in the hospital.
    • Even as Raylene tries to comfort Bone in the car, all Bone can think about is where Anney has gone.
    • Raylene and Bone get to Raylene's house, where there is an unfamiliar yellow dog under the porch.
    • Raylene turns off the car and tells Bone that she needs to hear something that she may be too young to hear. She tells her that when she was with the carnival, she was with a woman with whom she wanted to spend her life. But she made the woman choose between Raylene and her baby, and the woman chose her baby. Raylene came back alone, and it just about killed the both of them.
    • Raylene tells Bone that sometimes people do terrible things to the ones they love, and they can't explain why, even though it eats them up inside. She tells Bone that she doesn't know where Anney is, but that Anney loves her and that she's never going to forgive herself for what she let happen.
    • Raylene tells Bone that both of them need time and asks Bone if she knows what she looks like.
    • Bone had looked at herself in the mirror at the hospital and thinks that she looks older, harder, and meaner. She resents every person around her who treats her as if she is fragile, because she feels like she is full of hate.
    • Raylene tells Bone not to think about what happened, because she won't understand it yet. She promises her that things will get better in time. Bone stares at Raylene hatefully for saying that.
    • Raylene carries Bone inside the house as if she weighed nothing. Bone looks at the dog and wants to beat it.
    • Everything hurts Bone: her arm, her hip, and especially her heart. When Raylene brings Bone soup, she tells Raylene that she hates Anney. Raylene responds that Bone will forgive her. Bone can't even bear to think about Anney, and she refuses to speak or eat.
    • Bone hears Raylene and Earle saying that they don't know where Anney is, or Glen. The uncles are thinking about paying a bounty hunter, and Nevil comes over one day and whispers "I promise" to Bone, which makes her smile. Fay tells Raylene that Nevil has stopped sleeping at home and spends all night driving around, searching for Glen.
    • One night, Anney shows up at Raylene's. Bone is listening to a record and trying to cry but can't. She hears the screen door and turns around to see Anney.
    • Anney looks much older and more worn. She comes over to Bone and tries to talk to her, but Bone cannot move or speak.
    • Anney tells Bone that she never wanted her to get hurt, that she wanted them all to be safe and happy, and that she was so in love with Glen that she couldn't imagine that he would hurt her like he did.
    • Bone wants to tell Anney that she never doubted her, but she feels like Anney is a stranger.
    • Anney tells Bone that she loves her. Bone wants her mother back, but she knows that things can never be as they were.
    • Bone cries as Anney embraces her. She sees Raylene standing in the doorway. Bone lets go of her grief and anger as she cries, but she knows that it will come back.
    • Bone stops crying, and Raylene calls out both of their names. Anney stands up and pats Bone's arm. There is an envelope on Bone's lap.
    • Anney kisses Bone and tells her again that she loves her. Anney leaves, shaking her head when Raylene comes through the door. They hear her car drive away.
    • Bone asks Raylene if she knows where Anney is going. Raylene doesn't. Bone suspects California or Florida, because Glen had always talked about finding decent work there.
    • Inside the envelope is a birth certificate for Bone, without the stamp of illegitimacy across the bottom.
    • Bone wonders what kind of person Anney had been before Bone was born and wonders what she (Bone) will be like when she is older. She knows that she is already a strong Boatwright woman like her mother.