Black People and Dorothy Allison
Black People and Dorothy Allison
Race, class and gender have been a topic for most books that have been written. A lot of books talk about these topics because it is something most people face. Whether you’re at work and can’t get a promotion because of your gender, excluded from a place because of your class or hated because of your race. Know matter what you will be faced with one if these topics in your life time. Dorothy Allison’s Bastard out of Carolina deals with these issues in a very intriguing way. She uses them to keep the story flowing and keep the reader interested.
In the novel BOC, Allison uses race, class and gender in a very stereotypical way. The story of Bone takes place in a time where race was a conservational topic. You can say America was split in two groups, the whites and blacks. If you were black life was not easy. Black people were discriminated against. Even though slavery was over the black nation was not accepted by the white people. Racism means Discrimination or prejudice based on race (2). This word was not really used in this book because the narrative was Bone, a white girl. When Bone would visit Aunt Alma’s apartment she would come to face black children.
There and then is when the stereotypes of black people started. The grown up’s in Bone had nothing good to say about the niggers that lived by Aunt Alma. “Running off with a man’s children, living in the dirty place with niggers all around. My little girls having to go up those stairs past those nigger boys. My wife walking the street past those peckerwoods! ” (Allison 89). The family really did not approve of Aunt Alma living around black people. They were thought to be dirty and uncivilized people. Black people were also thought to be stupid and worthless.
Bone was young at the time and did not know what to think about them. But she did not feel the same as her elders. Instead she made friends with them and learned to like them. I think Allison is trying to show the innocence of a child. Most kids are caring and loving until they are taught to hate. Bone grew up in a poor family. They would be considered in today’s society as trailer trash. The stereotype of poor white folks was present in Bastard out of Carolina. Anne and Glen did not really have money so it was hard to support the kids. They basically lived with very little.
They couldn’t settle down at one house so they moved from one run down house to another. A lot of the characters described in this book had a lot of resemblance to what we would consider a red neck. For instance Uncle Travis has a big Chevy. Bone says it was jacked up so high that it easily cradled little kids or pregnant woman (Allison 1). Almost all the boys in the family had trucks. That’s typical for a red neck. Bone describes the Boatwright men as rugged, kind of dirty strong boys. They loved to fight and drink beer. The Boatwright family was big which again stereotyped poor white families.
Also poor people are known to have kids out of wedlock. That was the situation Bone was. She was born out of wedlock and she never knew who her father was. That is the significance of the title Bastard out of Carolina. Gender also played a big role in this novel by Dorothy Allison. The male and female gender played a very distinctive role. In the Boatwright family the men are thought to be the physically strong. They take care of the family. They get into fights and are feared by a lot of people in town. Women of that time were supposed to stay at home cook and clean.
They were supposed to wait for their husbands and never talk back. But I think Allison reversed the stereotype about women by making the Boatwright women very different. Most of them had jobs and were supporting them self’s. Aunt Raylene and Aunt Alma were some of the girls that lived by themselves. The women were strong too and they stuck together. Another way gender played a role was the relationship between Anne and Glen. From all the Boatwright women Anne was the weakest one. In the relationship Glen basically controlled Anne. Every time he did something bad she would end up forgiving him.
Even after she found out he has been beating Bone she forgave him. Glen had all the power and Anne couldn’t do anything because she loved him. Bastard out of Carolina faces issues about race, class and gender. Allison builds a world where all these issues are faced. Through the main character Bone, we see how race, class and gender affect her and her family. Race played a role when Bone meets black people for the first time and instead of judging them she became friend with them. The Boatwright’s social status is not the best but they are feared by the community.
They are considered poor and red necks. The last big issue that is seen in BOC is gender. Allison changed things up by making the women in the family stronger and more independent than other women of that time. In the end I think Allison decided to stereotype race, class and gender to show us it makes things worse then they already are. Work Cited 2 entries found for racism. 2003. Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. 19 Feb. 2006 http://owl. english. purdue. edu/handouts/research/r_mla. html Allison Dorothy. Bastard out of Carolina. New York. Penguin Group. 1993.
Subject: White people,
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 21 December 2016
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