Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? Criticism

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Oates's novel about urban life and murder, them, had won the 1970 National Book Award, so It was no surprise that her next collection of short stones, The Wheel of Love, which appeared later that year, received much attention. The book was widely reviewed, and "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" was often identified as one of its greatest successes. Some critics were disturbed by the violence that marked the entire collection-a common criticism leveled against many of Oates's works-and by the extreme situations and emotions experienced by a central character in nearly every story. "Joyce Carol Oates," Robert Emmet Long wrote in Saturday Review, "is not really interested in people, only in mental states." Others recognized that disturbing readers was precisely Oates's aim. A reviewer for the Virginia Quarterly Review wrote that Oates had accomplished a goal "to record and communicate what do seem...

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This section contains 842 words
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Buy the Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? Study Guide
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