Study Guide

Bastard Out of Carolina Chapter 10

By Dorothy Allison

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.

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