Study Guide

Bastard Out of Carolina Love

By Dorothy Allison

Love

If there is one thing that Bastard Out of Carolina shows, it's that love is a complicated, complicated thing. In fact, it seems that the older you get, the more complicated love gets. Let's start by saying that there are lots of kinds of love, and they don't always overlap: familial love, platonic love, sexual love, emotional love, empathetic love, sympathetic loveā€¦ See, it's already getting muddled. While some might argue all you need is love, this novel seems to say that it isn't always that simple; the love people feel for others isn't always the same. Sometimes love can cause some serious conflict, and sometimes that conflict can happen within a single person.

Questions About Love

  1. With perhaps the exception of Glen, do we ever question the love that the characters claim to have for one another? Do we ever question Anney's love for Bone, for instance, or her love for Glen?
  2. In the novel, are some forms of love portrayed as stronger than others?
  3. What are some of the challenges that love comes up against in the novel?

Chew on This

There is a contrast in the novel between romantic love and familial love.

In the novel, there are no examples of happy romantic relationships.

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