Bastard Out of Carolina

by Dorothy Allison

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Topics for Further Study

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  • Imagine that you are Bone and you have just finished writing this book. You want to get in touch with Anney and tell her how you feel about your past and about her. Write a letter to Anney.
  • Most of the people around them view the Boatwrights as useless and shiftless. What positive attributes do the Boatwrights demonstrate? Write a few paragraphs countering the argument that the Boatwrights are simply poor, white trash.
  • Conduct research to find out more about how child abuse affects the family members involved and the victim. After you have finished your research, assess whether or not Bone and Anney are realistically drawn characters.
  • Counselors often use creative outlets, such as art therapy, to help their patients heal from the trauma of sexual and physical abuse. What kind of art do you think Bone would create to express her feelings about what has happened to her in the past? Describe what a piece of Bone's work might look like.
  • Bone narrates her story some years later, when she is at least past the age of seventeen. Judging from Bone's voice and the perceptions and wisdom she holds, how old do you think Bone is when she tells her story? Explain your answer.
  • Write a short paper explaining why Bone might have decided to share her story and what she hopes to accomplish by doing so.

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