Bastard Out of Carolina

by Dorothy Allison

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What is Reese's role in the family dynamics in Bastard Out of Carolina and how does it affect her sister?

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The character Reese shows the reader a slightly different reaction to the family history and circumstances than is seen from Bone. Although they grow up in the same environment, Reese has a different father. This adds to the competitive atmosphere of the girls as they grow up. They both experience prejudice towards their family and living situations, being called "trash" and other names by adults, as well as judgement from their peers, such as Shannon, with whom Bone has a very short-lived friendship. The reader may assume that Reese, as Bone, is being abused by Glen, as evidenced by both girls' displays of sexuality coinciding with violent fantasies. Reese's preoccupation with sexuality shows when she complains to Bone about Glen and their mother. This affects Bone strongly, because it is the first time she makes the connection between "sex" and her molestation by Glen.

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