Study Guide

Bastard Out of Carolina Chapter 19

By Dorothy Allison

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.

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...