Study Guide

Bastard Out of Carolina Guilt and Blame

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Guilt and Blame

Bastard Out of Carolina has got its share of guilt and blame, and Bone herself is a swirling vortex of both. As readers on the outside, we know that a lot of Bone's feelings of guilt are misplaced: she blames herself for what Glen does to her; she blames herself for making Anney mad because of what Glen does to her; she blames herself for being herself after what Glen does to her. See what we're getting at here? Anney, on her part, gets a heaping portion of guilt as well, especially by the conclusion. Glen is pretty much exempt from all of the above: he makes excuses himself, and others go right along with it. So the real question is: what do guilt and blame achieve in the end?

Questions About Guilt and Blame

  1. Glen alone is at fault for committing acts of abuse, but Bone feels the need to assign blame to other people: namely, to herself and to Anney. Anney, too, assigns blame outside of Glen: to Glen's father for not loving Glen enough, to Bone for "provoking" Glen, and also to herself. Why all the blame?
  2. Do we as readers ever feel compelled to assign blame to any of the characters other than Glen?
  3. Before Glen rapes Bone, does Bone ever blame Anney for not protecting her?
  4. Do we ever feel like Glen gets properly blamed for what he does?

Chew on This

At the very end of the novel, Bone blames Anney for choosing Glen over her.

At the very end of the novel, Bone does not blame Anney for choosing Glen over her.

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