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Introduction & Overview of How I Contemplated the World from the Detroit House of Correction and Began My Life Over Again by Joyce Carol Oates

This Study Guide consists of approximately 62 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of How I Contemplated the World from the Detroit House of Correction and Began My Life Over Again.
This section contains 207 words
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How I Contemplated the World from the Detroit House of Correction and Began My Life Over Again Summary & Study Guide Description

How I Contemplated the World from the Detroit House of Correction and Began My Life Over Again Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Further Reading on How I Contemplated the World from the Detroit House of Correction and Began My Life Over Again by Joyce Carol Oates.

Introduction

"How I Contemplated the World From the Detroit House of Correction and Began My Life Over Again" was first published in magazine form in 1969 and then collected in her 1970 volume of short stories called The Wheel of Love. Its sarcastic rendering of upper-middle-class suburban life is not only an accurate critique of that aspect of American life, it is also a true rendering of the adolescent world view that rings as true today as it did when the story was written.

The story's experimental form seemed lifeless to some early critics, but has proven to have given the story literary staying power. The full title, "Notes for an Essay for an English Class at Baldwin Country Day School; Poking Around in Debris; Disgust and Curiosity; A Revelation of the Meaning of Life; A Happy Ending . . . ," invites readers to compare the prediction for a happy ending with the story the narrator tells at the end. Given her gift for sarcasm, is she telling the truth when she claims to "love everything" once she's returned to the safety, if sterile, of her parents' large suburban home? In the case of "How I Contemplated," ambiguity and incompleteness in the narrative add to rather than detract from the story's richness.

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This section contains 207 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our How I Contemplated the World from the Detroit House of Correction and Began My Life Over Again Study Guide
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How I Contemplated the World from the Detroit House of Correction and Began My Life Over Again from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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