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

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In the following essay, Daly contends that the characters in Oates's writings (and therefore the author's imagination) do not transcend gender conventions.

When Joyce Carol Oates tells us that "most novelists divide themselves up lavishly in their novels," she implies that a writer's imagination enables her to transcend socially determined gender categories. Nevertheless, as I shall show, Oates's early fiction reveals a pattern of authorial self-division that conforms to gender conventions: her male characters, such as Richard Everett in Expensive People and Jules Wendall in them, assume the right to define themselves, whereas her female characters, Maureen Wendall and Nadine Greene in them, merely act out roles in some (male) author's fiction. This probably unconscious projection of Oates's authorial power upon male characters is symptomatic, I believe, of a certain anxious authorship in her fiction in the 1960s, an anxiety rooted more in gender than in social...

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This section contains 3,687 words
(approx. 10 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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