Bastard Out of Carolina

By Dorothy Allison

Plot Line: A story that teaches the consequences of stealing or lying. It focuses on how it may not be serious to start, but it can grow and become a larger problem.

Exposition: The little girl is taught by her mother not to steal, after her cousin Grey was caught stealing.

Rising Action: The girl goes behind her mother's back. She ignores all the teachings about not stealing, and steals from their local store. She shoplifted a few tootsie rolls.

Climax: Her mother finds out that she stole, and she is forced to return to the store that she stole from and return the remaining candy and pay for what she had already ate.

Falling Action: The store owner comes out and decides to punish her by banishing her from returning to the store until her mom thinks she had learned her lesson.

Resolution: The girl is left feeling sad and disappointed in herself. She now knows the consequences of stealing and lying.


The theme revolves around not stealing or lying, because it can only create more problems, even if you think it is not that serious in the beginning.

Character Information

The Daughter: The daughter can be rebellious sometimes. This is shown after she steals even after her mother had warned her not to. She is also compassionate. After she had stole, she cared what her mother thought of her, and was sad when she thought her mother was angry at her. She is also very sensitive. Throughout the story, she cried many times and got easily angered.

The Mother: The mother had absolutely no tolerance for lying or stealing. She was very honest and always wanted her daughter to be her best. She had very good morals and ethics.

Major Conflict

The major conflict in this story is that the little girl stole candy from their local store even after her mother had told her not to. She had went behind her mom's back and didn't listen to her warnings, which ended up in her getting banned from the store. The conflict was mostly external. It was between the girl and her mother, and the girl and the man in the store. There was also a bit of internal conflict as well. After stealing, the girl had guilt and was ashamed of herself for what she had done.

Literary Devices

"The lines in her face looked as deep as the rivers that flowed South toward Charleston." and "The fingers of her right hand rubbed together steadily like the legs of grasshoppers." Both these quotes are very effective uses of similes. It is describing something the girl sees and compares it to something the reader would recognize. It is more interesting than just plainly stating it straightforwardly.

The Most Compelling Aspect

The most compelling aspect of the story was the amazing message that the story held. Don't lie, or don't steal or else there will be consequences. It has multiple uses of figurative language woven in the story. It is a rather relatable story, so it held my attention throughout the story. It was also a quick, yet intriguing read. So, If you are the type that likes a short read, this story is the one for you.
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