Study Guide

Bastard Out of Carolina Chapter 13

By Dorothy Allison

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.

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