Bastard Out of Carolina

Dorothy Allison

Plot Line

Exposition: Mama is accusing daughter of stealing and lectures her of her family's past mistakes.

Rising Action: The main character finally confesses of her deeds and where she stole the candy.

Rising Action: Mama convinces her to repent to the store keeper and return her stolen goods.

Climax: The nervous and scared protagonist returns and pays the creepy man for the candy.

Falling Action: The daughter becomes weirded out by the man and changes emotions dramatically from inferior to extremely angry.

Resolution: The main character ends the story with a need and hunger for hatred. She wanted to steal again but knew she was forbidden by the stranger.


The story is located in South Carolina north of Charleston. The period of time seems like it is in the 1965-1975. Context from the short story gave it away.

"The river that flowed south toward south toward Charleston."

"Bastard Out of Carolina."

"She put the Tootsie Rolls in a paper bag and gave me a handful of pennies." - Candy these days do not cost just a couple of pennies.

" long as her kept paying us for the work." -Also, children do not work in fields anymore, that was decades ago.


Internal: The main character had the want to hurt back and steal again, even though she knew it would be wrong.

"It was a hunger in the back of the throat, not the belly, an echoing emptiness that ached for the release of screaming."

External: The protagonist developed hatred for the creepy storekeeper the more he kept trying to talk to her.

"The longer he looked at me, the more I hated him."

Figurative Language

Many forms of figurative language was used throughout this story but a simile had caught my eye.

"The fingers of her right hand rubbed together steadily like the legs of grasshoppers."

I think this analogy was made so that the reader really imagined this situation. It also shows that the main character is watching her mother's every step because she is nervous.


The southern girl was described indirectly. There were no obvious signs of adjectives describing the protagonist, only actions that made the reader think and assume what type of person she was.

She seemed to be a sneaky, fearful, and angry little kid. I gathered this from the times when she stole the candy, was scared of what her mama would say to her, and hated the man even more every time he spoke a word.


Discipline; You get what you deserve.

The daughter received her punishment because of what she had done and had to return the candy to make up for her poor deed.

"Don't lie too... Tell me the truth."

"We're gonna go in there and give the man back his candy, pay for what you ate... and you'll be glad it's settled."

Why Read It?

What I really liked from this story was it was short and sweet. It was so dense with figurative language and I never knew what was going to happen next. I also liked how it seemed adventurous and that it captured every aspect and thing.

The most compelling part of this story was really surprising, when I though that the daughter would be forgiving and stop to stealing, to was only the beginning and she gathered even more anger within her.