Four Summers Essay

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Semansky is an instructor of English literature and composition who writes about literature and culture for various publications. In this essay, Semansky considers the narrator's emotional growth.

Psychologists often chart the development of human beings in stages or phases. Eric Erikson, for instance, lists eight stages of psychosocial development that human beings typically pass through during their lives, including the oral-sensory stage, the stage of adolescence, and the maturity stage. Other psychologists have different models. In "Four Summers," Oates shows Sissie's emotional development through her behavior towards her family and peers, emphasizing both her interconnectedness with others and her quest for individuation.

In the first section, Sissie describes her surroundings in generalities, beginning her story, "It is some kind of special day." Her sentence structure and descriptions are similar to those of a young child. For example, she writes of her mother: "She is pretty when she...

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This section contains 1,539 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Four Summers Study Guide
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Four Summers from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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