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22 November 2011

Copy and paste Psycho-analyst

Last week I wrote a paper psycho-analyzing two of Joyce Carol Oates characters from two of her short stories.  I am going to post the paper here at End of The Street. This paper was particularly interesting to write.  I love Joyce Oates writing style and her realistic approach.  Some how she can sketch her characters and the circumstances around them in an unbias but realistic way.  She is niether cyntical nor hopeful.  I like the balance she adds to the literary world and psycho-analyzing her work is like talking to Best Friend and hashing over issues that come our way.  

This particular piece was very meaningful to me for two reasons: I grew up distance from my father and I basically built my life (with the help of friends) to be what it is and I am proud of the independence that I developed because it; I am in the process of surrendering my independence (but not my empowerment) to Beloved.

Hope this essay gives you some insight.

Psycho-analyst of Joyce Oates’ characters

When people say there is too much violence in [my writing], what they are saying is there is too much reality in life (Joyce Oates).

American writer, Joyce Carol Oates, is a known for the verity of genres that she writes. All of her writing, however, is tied together with a realistic approach, having been said to write fiction “about real people in a real society” (Meyer 969). The authenticity of her characters allow for readers to analyze the psychological position of her characters, as they represent a particular era and trend in American culture. Main characters Grace Burkhardt and Connie from her short stories, “The Night Nurse” and “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”,respectively, are two prototypical Americans that Oates uses to show the psychological process of people of specific groups.

Grace Burkhardt is an example of an independent woman, very commonly found in post-feminist American society. She is has a driven, self-determined personality that are revealed by her inner thoughts regarding her fall and hospitalization. She is determined to behave well and exert her good health (970) even though she is obviously ill. The character’s internal monologue give readers sight into her subconscious struggle, while a third person narrative tells the events of the story. These monologues tell readers Grace’s subconscious fears: being helpless, and alone and dying (972). In the end, Grace has to face the reality of her situation. This wipes her of her entitled feelings about herself as she learns what it means to need a stranger’s help (974). She also has to face the ugliness of her past actions and how she treats people. The nurse, Harriet Zink, forces her to relive her college days when she was politely mean to the odd person out in society (978). Harriet forces Grace to understand the pain of being rejected and misunderstood (978). In the end Nurse Harriet shows Grace that she cannot excuse her behavior but must take ownership for it. Grace also learns to put herself in other’s situations. She realizes that she is not a strong independent woman after all (980).

Independence is also a theme in her 1991 short story “Where are You Going, Where Have You Been?”. The main character, Connie, is a teenage girl in the 1960’s who is struggling to develop independence. While her desire of independence is really a displacement for other pains in her life, Connie, acts out her desire in misguided ways. She engages in risky behaviors that eventually render her vulnerable to Arnold Friend, a serial abductor. Connie struggles with her father’s workaholic-ism that leads him to a sort of absenteeism, even though he is physically present in the family (1). She displaces her feeling about her father’s emotional abandonment by earning the affection of boys her age and ignoring older men (1). Her risky lifestyle, that is a indirect reaction to her father’s lack of influence, is also indirectly responsible for making her prey to Arnold Friend’s attack. He signals her out during one of her escapades (1) and targets her because of her reputation as a serial dater (4). In the end, Connie is unable to handle the situation and her real desire for her parents’ protection surfaces as she cries for her mother (5).

In her writing Joyce Oates confronts the hypocrisy of Western culture’s value of independence. She gives readers sight into how independence is actually a projection of a subconscious desire that characters cannot confront. She uses her short stories to analyze the psychological develop of women who hide their deficiencies in order to attain a feeling of autonomy. Unfortunately, concealing these deficiencies estrange these women from important issues in life such as health, family and safety. Because these issues are subconsciously hidden, Oates uses acts of violence to wake up her characters and her readers to the realities of life.


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