Themes Of Racism And Treatment Of Class In Bastard Out Of Carolina

April 27, 2022 by Essay Writer

Outlook of class and gender are related in many ways. This relationship has been identified in many research studies (Sleeter, 2017). In addition, the two topics have been contributing to a lot of discussions on the role they play to the society as well as how they affect the community at large. These issues have been depicted in the literally works of Dorothy Allison, Bastard out of Carolina and in the Ajeclicts Huston’s film Adaptation. From the setting of the film, the director overloads masculinity symbolism. This issue transforms the film into a flick of actions related to gender and class rather than romantic drama. Therefore, the issue of masculinity and how it is linked to class is one of the major themes that Dorothy Allison and Ajeclits Hutson demonstrate in their works. Although the films comprise of many themes, class and gender are the most evident aspects. From the film, Robert Redford and Mia Farrow who are the starring actors, are seen putting more emphasis on class differences. Similarly, the film’s director depicts these issues on the setting of the movie. From the characters’ excess fixation, lavishness, and masculinity are also depicted to show how class is related to social class. Finally, the film shows that class is based on one relative socioeconomic rank in the society. As a result of such classes, social inequalities emerge. However, the characters do not demonstrate how the gap between these classes can be avoided.

Based on the works of Dorothy Alison, racial privilege does not resolve poverty as well as the suffering that is associated with it. In fact, she refers class as one of the most salient social facets that she has ever experienced in her life. To support her arguments, Dorothy states she has personally experienced the challenges of being born in a poor family. Being born in 1949, Greenville, South Carolina, Dorothy argues that she lived as a poor child throughout her childhood. Being born in this kind of family, she often felt ashamed, insecure, and contemptible. In regard to this, she felt diminished and could not associate with children from richer families. Besides, being a female made him more ashamed given that most of her childhood male friends came from rich families. Although many people in her neighborhood felt that aspects related to power, struggle, and hard work were primarily linked to the male gender, she had a different opinion. Her main goal was to mitigate the challenges she encountered and create a better would for herself. She really achieved this. From her narration, Dorothy acts as an example from which many young females can learn from.

The power of whiteness is another aspect that Dorothy links to class. This has been depicted in many demographic studies that have been focusing on the United States. From the most recent census, it has been established that Iranians, Africans, Russians, North and Central South Americans live in the United States. This has been attributed to desire for class which has, for many years now, been associated with whiteness. In addition, this has been the case in other parts of the world. For instance, half of the Lantino respondents chose to be identified as whites. However, to achieve such class, hard work is inevitable. Data from many demographic research studies show that men live in better social classes when compared to their female counterparts which has been characterized by the misconception that hard work is primarily males’ responsibility. As already stated, Dorothy provides a solution to this challenge. She states that women must equality struggle as their male counterparts do if they have to live a better social life.

Class is also demontsrated by the characters that Dorothy Allison uses in her work. She identifies that there is a huge gap that exisist between different class levels. For instance, the only major player in “Bastard Out of Carolina” to hail from an upper-middle-class background is Bone’s bullying, insecure, predatory stepfather, Glen espouses individualism. Throughout the film, he keeps on syaing that, they do need nobody else especially when refereing to people from the lower classes. This issue isolates Bone and Anne from the people they depend on for survival. People from what Dorothy refers to as the underclass have to depend on their relatives for survival depsite the fact thay can get such help from those in the midle and upper classes. For instance, Earle, Bone’s favorite uncle, just shakes his head when Glen required his help. On the other hand, Bone gets help from her hand who survives by selling and recycling what others have tossed out as trash. This shows that, although many people expect that help and suport should come from the male gender, this trend has dramatically changed in the 21st century, and females can suport their families too.


Sleeter, C. E., & Grant, C. A. (2017). Race, class, gender, and disability in current textbooks. In The politics of the textbook (pp. 78-110). Routledge.

Smith, A. (2017). Deformed, Demented, and Deranged: Limited Categorizations of Old Women in Fairy Tale Adaptations. 


Read more