Study Guide

Bastard Out of Carolina Chapter 8

By Dorothy Allison

Chapter 8

  • The family moves to West Greenville because of Glen's new job at a uniform plant. While they're moving, Anney finds the weird love knot that Maybelle and Marvella gave them for their wedding. It's been eaten up, and it falls apart when Anney tries to gather it up. Yay symbolism.
  • That week, Marvella wakes up to a nightmare, and Maybelle wakes up to find that a dog had dug up their honeycomb. Yay, um, weirder symbolism?
  • The new house is far away from the rest of the family, so Anney starts leaving Bone and Reese home alone. The new house is nice but more expensive, so Anney takes on a few extra hours. Glen's job, on the other hand, doesn't seem to be working out so well, and Anney tells the girls to be quiet and stay out of his way when he gets home.
  • Glen's hands seem to be always reaching for Bone, and he watches her like she's something strange. When she's running through the house, he grabs her and tells her not to run around like a racehorse.
  • Bone and Reese play racehorse when Glen isn't home, instead, but one day he comes home without them noticing. He throws Bone against a wall and then drags her into the bathroom and beats her with his belt. Outside of the bathroom, Bone can hear Reese and Anney screaming.
  • When Glen opens the door, Anney slaps him and calls him a son of a b**** while she washes Bone's face. Glen says that Bone is his daughter too. As Anney soothes Bone, she asks Bone what she did, and Bone wonders why Anney thinks that she is at fault.
  • Bone wakes up to Anney and Glen's voices. Anney is crying in Glen's arms and he is telling her that Bone said that she hated him. He says he went crazy, that he never meant to beat her that hard... and then he tells her that he was laid off. Bone wonders if he believes his own lies, and Reese whispers to Bone that she had better be careful.
  • Glen's temper is as volatile as ever when he gets a job that pays him even less. Bone stays out of the house as much as she can when Glen is home and Anney isn't—but if Bone is home, Glen is always finding some reason to beat her or molest her.
  • Bone doesn't know how to tell anyone about it, or even how to describe what it is; she feels ashamed and uncertain. Bone becomes even more terrified of him and his huge hands, and wishes that she were stronger, so she could fight him back.
  • Glen has a falling-out with Earle, and he starts bad-mouthing the Boatwrights. Bone doesn't like how he talks, but Anney doesn't defend her family. She even sometimes agrees with Glen.
  • Whenever Glen beats Bone, Anney just stands outside of the bathroom and afterward tells Bone not to be so stubborn. Bone doesn't know what more she can do, because it seems to be her sheer existence that makes Glen mad.
  • Glen is careful to hit Bone when no one else is around, and only occasionally when Anney is around if there is an "excuse" for it. Bone keeps getting hurt, and can't explain why to Anney, who thinks that maybe Bone is fragile.
  • Bone masturbates to the thought of people watching her as Glen beats her. When Glen beats her in real life she screams and cries, but in her fantasy she is defiant, and feels as though she is being beaten for the people watching. Her fantasies get more violent and complicated.
  • In real life, Glen has set aside special belts just for beating Bone. Bone lives in a world of shame, thinking of herself as sick and disgusting for masturbating to the fantasy of being beaten, but it's the only world in which she can defy Glen.
  • Bone's collarbone gets broken a second time—under the pretense of an accident—and the doctor who X-rays Bone confronts Anney about how Bone could have broken her tailbone.
  • The doctor looks at Bone's face and says that she can tell them the truth. He looks at Anney angrily and mercilessly, knowing that Bone has been beaten.
  • Anney's face fills with terror. When Bone tells Anney to take her home, the doctor pounds on the bed with his fists and leaves. The nurse apologizes and says that he hasn't been at the hospital for long, but Bone knows that the nurse knows what is going on.
  • Back in the car, Anney says that they're going to Alma's house. She gives Glen a look that freezes him, and he follows her around the car and begs her tearfully to talk to him. She shakes him off when he tries to touch her and drives off.
  • Bone imagines the doctor coming out to the parking lot, confronting Glen for beating Bone, and almost running Glen over with his car. She imagines Glen following them to Alma's house and confessing his sins to the entire family, who refuse to forgive him. In the car she tries not to cry. She apologizes to Anney, who says that she didn't do anything wrong.

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