Bastard Out of Carolina

By Dorothy Allison

Conflict

In this short story, the conflict is internal struggle with the main character and herself, but there is also some external conflict. After the protagonist steals candy from a local candy shop, she gets caught by her mom. Prior to this event, she had strictly been told not to steal. This makes her feel guilty and disappointed in herself for stealing because she does not want her to turn out like her cousins, and her mom does not want that either. This displays the external conflict. The internal conflict is presented more towards the end of the story when she has to return the candy to the store she stole it from. She gets very angry at the man who owns the store and begins to not feel guilty about stealing. She then has an internal battle inside of her head about if she should feel guilty about stealing or not. Does she want to steal again? Will she defy her mother just because she doesn't like the store owner?
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Plot Line

Exposition: The story begins with the protagonist's mom lecturing her about never stealing. She strictly says that she will never have one of her children caught stealing.


Rising Action: The rising action of the story starts when the protagonist gets caught stealing and admits to it. She then gets another lecture from her mother about stealing, and that her mother never wants her to be like her cousins. Her mother then tells her a story about when her and her little sister were younger, and worked for a man who owned a strawberry store. This story showed the protagonist that you will have consequences if you make a mistake, and punishments will happen to everyone.


Climax: When the protagonist had to go into the store and give the candy back to the store owner was the climax. This was the most suspenseful part of the story for the reader and the main character.


Falling Action: The falling action happened when the store owner was mad and yelling at the main character, and gave her consequences for stealing. After this, the protagonist then becomes angry at the man and starts to regret her decision of feeling guilty about stealing, and she now thinks that it may be ok to steal.


Exposition: Later in the protagonists life, she walks by the store and thinks back to when she stole the candy, this would be the exposition.

Simile

A major literary device that is used by the author in this story are similes. We see a lot of similes in this story because it helps you picture the things like the way the characters act, and many more important things. Similes are used in things that the characters say and do, also the things that the author describes. A good example is: "The lines in her face looked as deep as the rivers that flowed south toward Charleston" (76). This example helps us understand the setting better and the feelings of the mother at the point in the story. This helps show the reader that the mother is clearly thinking very hard. Another example is "The fingers on her right hand rubbed together steadily like the legs of grasshoppers I had seen climbing up the long grass at Aunt Raylene's place" (76). This example helps us picture the story and makes the story come alive, it also puts you there in there and makes you feel like you are in the story.

Bad Comes to Those Who Do Bad

One of the major themes in this story is that if you do something bad, that is against any kind of rules (the known laws or just house rules), you will get a consequence. These consequences can end up being very bad. When the protagonist steals the candy, she had the consequence of having to go back to the store, own up to what she did, and give the candy back. That can be humiliating but there can also be worse consequences than that like going to jail. Another example of this is the story that the protagonist's mom told her about the strawberries. When the protagonist's mom and her sister were little, they worked in the strawberry fields for a man who sold strawberries. When they got lazy, they put the green strawberries in the bottom of the carton under the ripe ones. When their grandmother found out about this, she went down to the strawberry field and bought a whole carton of unripe strawberries. She made the protagonist's mother and her sister eat the whole thing, and they threw up for the whole rest of that night. This is another important example of doing something bad to receive a consequence.

Most Compelling Aspect About the Story

In this short story, the author, Dorothy Allison makes this story interesting by adding a plot twist at the end, this makes it engaging and makes you tied into the book. We learn many lessons from this book, just a few including not lying, not stealing, but I think the overall lesson is to not go against what you know is right, or there will be consequences. I think that others would want to read this story if they are interested in learning about morals and the consequences if those morals are broken. This forces the reader to think about their own morals, no matter how small the bad choice is, it can result in a large consequence. It doesn't have to be stealing.