Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Self-Discovery in Oates Naked Essay -- Oates Naked Essays
Self-Discovery in Oates in the buff While other, less accomplished writers commit violence to shock or provoke, Joyce Carol Oates is usually more subtle and inventive. Such is the case in Naked, the story of a forty-six form old cleaning charwoman whose placid outer identity is ripped away by a brutal assault while out hiking not far from her fashionable, University Heights neighborhood. Like many of Oates storiesand in this regard she probably owes something to Flannery OConnorNaked focuses on a woman so entrenched in her plastered self-image that nothing short of violence could make her vulnerable to a humbling, though redemptive, self knowledge. The protagonist, a stolid, college administrator, prides herself on her liberal views and anti-racist, fair mindedness. Curiously, she remains anonymous throughout the story, though not without reason. Her namelessness brings us closer to her inside(a) world while at the same time obliquely suggesting that, wedded these same vio lent circumstances, she could be anyone, even you or me. Names wreak a kind of hearty identity, and Oates main interest here is in exploring what might happen when her characters social framework and the well predictable keep that goes with it are suddenly, and irrevocably, taken away. This, of course, is precisely what happens. What then, Oates seems to be asking, would be left? The answer, which is feverishly detailed in the remaining thirteen pages of this sixteen page story, is something this woman would never have asked for nor anticipated. Like most people in her social sphere, the woman takes for granted the civility and restraints that have kept her, prior to her attack, comfortably exempt from the personal chaos that violence unleashes. All of... ...the story concludes with the woman crouched, still naked, in the underbrush below her house and marveling how strange it is to be seeing her husband at last after having wanted so desperately to get home, and yet now feeli ng no sensation at what she saw. (138) Works Cited Hillman, James. Eranos Lectures 8, On Paranoia, by Hillman. Dallas Spring Publications, 1986. Oates, Joyce Carol. Naked. Heat and some other Stories. By Oates. New York Plume, 1991. Robinson, Sally Heat and Cold new-fangled prevarication by Joyce Carol Oates, Michigan Quarterly Review, Vol. XXXI, 1992. Notes 1. Robinson, Sally. Heat and Cold Recent Fiction by Joyce Carol Oates. Michigan Quarterly Review, Vol. XXXI, 1992. In coetaneous Literary Criticism, Vol. 108. 383. 2. Hillman, James. Eranos Lectures 8, On Paranoia. Spring Publications, 1986. 13-14.