Child Abuse And It's Role In Bastard Out Of Carolina By Dorothy Allison

2007 words - 8 pages

While reading the semi-autobiographical, Bastard Out of Carolina, by Dorothy Allison, I was stunned by the explicit nature of the novel. We were introduced to a young narrator and protagonist named, Ruth Anne “Bone” Boatwright. Bone's family, like that of the author, experienced a impoverished life, all the while she tried to find her place in a society that had literally labeled her “illegitimate.” Merriam-Webster defines illegitimate as being: (1) not recognized as lawful offspring; specifically: born of parents not married to each other (2) not rightly deduced or inferred- illogical (3) departing for the regular- erratic (4) not sanctioned by law- illegal (5) not authorized by good usage. As a young girl, how would it feel being known as illogical, erratic, illegal, not for good usage, and, in Bone's case, being constantly reminded of not knowing the identity of your birth father? According to helpguide.org, a non-profit online resource for mental health, the article “Child Abuse & Neglect” addressed how constantly being told you are stupid or no good, as a child, is very difficult to overcome. You may accept these negative thoughts and believe them to be reality. In this research paper, I am looking to unveil the truth of child abuse by focusing on the history, myths, and victim rehabilitation of child abuse.
From a very young age, Bone was sexually abused by her step-father, Glen Waddell. Like Bone, Dorothy Allison also suffered abuse from her step-father, starting at the young age of five years-old. During the time of the novel, and until recent years, it was unthinkable to speak of any sort of abuse outside the household. Throughout history, children have been victims of abuse by their parents or other adults, and for many centuries laws failed to protect them (Child Abuse Background and History). According to English common law, it was tradition for colonists, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, to consider children property of their fathers. It was not until the early 1870s that child abuse was first brought into light. The Child-Protection Movement started with the news of one eight year-old orphan named Mary Ellen Wilson. After the passing of her biological mother and father, Mary Ellen was left in the care of her biological father's widow, Mary McCormack Connolly. Mrs. McCormack Connolly badly mistreated Mary Ellen, and neighbors in the building were well aware of the child's predicament (Mary Ellen Wilson, 2013). It was not until Etta Angell Wheeler, a caring Methodist mission worker, visited the residence and noticed Mary Ellen's condition. Ms. Wheeler describes her first meeting with Mary Ellen, as such:
“It was December and the weather bitterly cold. She was a tiny mite, the size of five years, though, as afterward appeared, she was then nine. From a pan set upon a low stool she stood washing dishes, struggling with a frying pan about as heavy as herself. Across the table lay a brutal whip of twisted leather...

Find Another Essay On Child Abuse and it's Role in Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison

The Role of Media in Reporting Child Abuse

2022 words - 8 pages attention on the subject” (McDevitt, p. 262, 1996). The media’s role in reporting child abuse is to help deter child abuse perpetrators and to inform the public. The media has the ability to make a negative or positive impact on the preception of child abuse. The publications about child abuse inform the public about different types of child abuse and neglect and incidents that happen within their community, and how to report child abuse. They

Suspected Child Abuse and the Teacher´s Role in Reporting it

603 words - 2 pages Teachers Role in Reporting Suspected Child Abuse      The maltreatment and neglect of children and youth has increasingly come to be perceived as a social blight. As with most social problems, child abuse influences our school systems. Children that are being emotionally, physically and sexually abused often use school as a cop out. These children spend around thirty hours a week in a safe, enjoyable and carefree

"Child of the Dark" by Carolina Maria De Jesus: Can democracy and poverty coexist?

930 words - 4 pages politicians also have a heavy role on influencing the poor to trust democracy. While talking about a candidate for the upcoming election, Carolina says, "We of the favela have not been protected by you, Senhor Contrini. We don't know you, and you don't know us" (97). Maria shows how the disconnection of the candidates and how they have no idea how life actually is in the favelados. She also supports this claim by talking about how those running

Book review of The Cheating of America by Charles Lewis and Bill Allison

879 words - 4 pages that the U.S. Tax Court found the taxpayer wholly innocent of what can only be characterized as trumped-up charges brought by the IRS, the authors' assertion that "upper-income taxpayers do not pay their fair share" depends upon how one defines "fair share." In their book, Lewis and Allison cite several carefully selected examples of wealthy Americans and corporations finding ways to avoid paying their fair share in federal income taxes, some

Child Abuse and the Importance of Belonging Discussed in David Pelzer's A Child Called It

1683 words - 7 pages A Child Called "It" explores the traumatic story of child abuse and how the choices made by one person affects another’s sense of belonging. The story is only from one point of view as it’s a biography, written by the man who experienced trauma at such a tender age. David Pelzer, as a child, dealt with rejection daily and not only from his mother but classmates, teachers and ultimately his biggest enemy, himself. A Child Called "It", as the

Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect

2106 words - 8 pages Child abuse is the physical or emotional mistreatment of a child by a parent, guardian, or other person. Information of child abuse, including sexual abuse, beating, and murder, have climbed in the United States and some authorities believe that the number of cases is under reported. Child neglect is sometimes integrated in legal definitions of child abuse to cover instances of starvation, abandonment, and insufficient care of a child's safety

Brain Development in Victims of Child Abuse

1547 words - 6 pages changed with the help of tools such as MRI imaging, able to detect actual changes in brain anatomy, and it appears that what doesn't kill you may still permanently weaken you, at least when it comes to child abuse. The chief danger to the brain in child abuse, besides direct injury by the abuser, is the stress placed on fragile, developing tissue. Traumatic stress placed on the brain, such as that caused by abuse, will activate the locus

Effects of Child Abuse and Neglect

1434 words - 6 pages many effects of abuse on the child (Kraizer). The worst way the child can be affected is suicide. Every child abuse case is different in its own way. Of course child abuse can lead to problems and suffering, but it's not that simple. Every child will have a different way of dealing with the problem that they think is alright because they have been raised knowing only that. Common effects of child abuse; Nightmares or difficulty sleeping

Overview and Effects of Child Abuse

2271 words - 9 pages willingness to get involved, and believing that someone will speak up and do something about it. However the consequences of not reporting child abuse far out weighs a person’s fear. There are many numbers and statistics to look at when it comes to child abuse. Abuse comes in many different forms. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 62.8% of children in America fall into the category of neglect. 16.6% obtain

Child Abuse and the Feeling of Helplessness

2193 words - 9 pages psychological effects as physical abuse are more likely to occur. I think that of any type of abuse, this one can be helped the most. If 2 people can not raise a child, they should not bring him into the world. And if he is an "accident", then there are many ways to fix that, including abortion and adoption. There are plenty of people out in the world who can not have a baby and would want someone else’s. So instead of neglecting an innocent child

America's Role in WWI and it's Role in WWII.

935 words - 4 pages For most of the United State's life, it has attempted to go by the words in President Washington's farewell address. These words were interpreted to mean, "Do not form permanent alliances" ("Washington's Farewell Address"). America's role in World War I and World War II tested these words of former President Washington.Continuing with this policy, when World War I began in 1914, the US tried to remain neutral, and see to it that its rights as a

Similar Essays

The Search For Identity Dorothy Allison's "Bastard Out Of Carolina"

1927 words - 8 pages THE SEARCH FOR IDENTITYIn her novel, Bastard Out of Carolina, Dorothy Allison tells a story of Bone and the Boatwrights, a family besieged by poverty and violence. Throughout the novel, the reader uncovers the lives of all the different characters, and discovering the identity of these characters plays a large role in understanding the novel as a whole. Within the Boatwright family are women who are constantly faced with the struggle of finding

Bastard Out Of Carolina Essay

1643 words - 7 pages who usually begins writing poetry (Megan 72). Which creates themes present in the novel and in order to truly get an appreciation of Bastard Out of Carolina, by Dorothy Allison, one must take a close look at the main concepts: Abuse, Fire, Legitimacy, Social Class, Hands, and Identity; to see how they all play a role in the overall tone and personification of the book. One of the main concepts in Bastard Out Of Carolina is abuse. Bone’s

The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part Time Indian And Bastard Out Of Carolina

1900 words - 8 pages The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie and Bastard out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison, tell stories about troubled adolescents and their desire to live a life more meaningful than the one society had predetermined for them. On the surface, Junior and Bone seem very different but when they are analyzed through the themes of discrimination, poverty, and friendship, these two protagonists become reflections of each other

The Social Worker's Role In Preventing Child Abuse And Neglect

3857 words - 15 pages effects are. Finally, I will lay out a potential plan for ending the threat of child abuse and neglect that we as social workers can adopt and advocate for. Part of the problem in dealing with child abuse and neglect is the lack of clear definitions. There are several types of abuse and neglect, all of which have their own definitions. According to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) , five types accounted for most of the