How I Contemplated the World from the Detroit House of Correction and Began My Life Over Again Essay

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Elisabeth Piedmont-Marton teaches American literature and writing classes at the University of Texas. She writes frequently about the modern short story. In this essay she explains how "How I Contemplated . . ." is a subversion of the classic coming- of-age story.

In Mark Twain's classic American novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the protagonist, young Huck, is last seen preparing to "light out for the territories." This story of Huck, poised on the brink of manhood, prepared to test his character and forge his identity on the frontier has become a master narrative for the American coming-of-age plot. Oates's "How I Contemplated" employs the elements of the coming-of-age story, but does so in an ironic, subversive fashion. At the heart of Oates's story is a female protagonist whose "adventures" represent regression rather than progress and whose experiences will not arrange themselves into the coherent pattern that the genre requires...

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This section contains 1,529 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the How I Contemplated the World from the Detroit House of Correction and Began My Life Over Again Study Guide
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