Study Guide

Bastard Out of Carolina Chapter 4

By Dorothy Allison

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.

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