Study Guide

Bastard Out of Carolina Chapter 2

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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.

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