As the narrator of the novel as well as the protagonist, Bone is recalling past events. The fact that she can see humor in the peculiar circumstances of her birth, her raid on Woolworth’s, and her venture into religion indicates that by the time she tells her story, Bone has recovered her zest for life. Yet it is clear that at the time it occurred, Glen’s abuse warped her personality. Not only was she forced to detach her mind from her body so that she could endure the beatings, but in guarding her secret, she also had to withdraw from the people who loved her. Bone describes how through all of this she clung to her sense of identity, so that, once freed from Glen and from her own rage, she could once again love life.
Anney is a pretty, tender-hearted woman whose flaws are generally perceived as virtues. It is her irrational optimism that first propels her into marriage to Glen and then keeps her believing that he and his luck will change. It is her tenderness toward the weak that makes it impossible for her to turn Glen away. Ironically, though Anney lacks clearsightedness, she does, like all the other Boatwright women, have strength.
Glen, the villain of the story, is incapable of love and rules his life by his own needs. Because he has been rejected by his own family, he needs Anney’s love; because he sees Bone as a rival for her mother’s affection, he needs to destroy her. Although Allison makes his motivations clear, by the time...
(The entire section is 465 words.)