Bastard Out of Carolina

By Dorothy Allison


Exposition: The mother catches her daughter stealing again and decides to stop it from happening again.

Rising Action: The mother tells her daughter about her cousin who turned out bad and started out only stealing from a store. Also she tells the daughter how her mother punished her for her own dishonesty.

Climax: The daughter has to confront the person she stole from.

Falling action: The store owner's punishment is to ban to girl until she learns her lesson.

Resolution: The girl feels shame every time she passes the store and it reminds her of the wrong she had done.


This story is about a girl from South Carolina who decided to steal from a local store. When caught by her mother the girl feels no remorse and gets caught again. Her mother decides to take action and help her daughter face what she did. Even though the path she is down is dark, her mother is determined to show her daughter the wrong she has done and help her learn. This stories shows us many moral dilemmas and shows how our actions unpunished can make us into a worse person. When she take responsibility (or in this case someone forces her to) it helped her learn. This stories shows us how our action have consequences and they may be unpleasant, but they help us be a better person.
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The two main characters the mother and her daughter. The mother is a very honorable and trustworthy. She knows what is right and wrong. She is a very firm mother and doesn't allow what her daughter did to go unpunished. She was developed through indirect characterization. She wants to live an honest life and be a good person. This was shown by how applauded she was at her daughter's actions. The daughter is a very wild child. This was shown through indirect characterization. She hangs out with her older cousins to learn how to steal. She is sneaky and dishonest. The daughter lied right to her mother to try to get out of trouble. Her moral compass is a little crooked, but her mother is trying to help her.


One major conflict was between the girl and the store manager. When she goes back to the store to apologize for what she did, the manager tries talking to her. The girl becomes very angry and feels hatred towards this man. He has done nothing to her, but she sees him as the problem. She doesn't think her stealing was wrong, but she thinks he is to blame. She is banned from the store, but the manager says she may be allowed back if she learns her lesson.

Literary Devices

In the story the author uses many smiles to help the reader see what he is describing. When the mother find out her child had stole she became very mad and disappointed. "The lines in her face looked as deep as the rivers that flowed south toward Charleston" (page 76). This smilie help the reader see the mother anger and how upset she is over her daughters crime. The reader sees the anger etched in her face deepening the wrinkles.
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Why should you read it?

This book does a amazing job touching in on moral dilemmas. The girls knows about her about her cousin who stole from family and she knows that wrong. At the same time stealing from some one you don't know can't be that bad. She is on the line and can't see the path she is going down. Her mother is trying to show her that being honest is better. When the girl is comforted she feels anger instead of remorse, but she does not want to disappoint her mother. Read this story to find out what the girls decides and what happens to her