Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? Essay

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In the following essay, Wegs concentrates on the "grotesque" factors in Oates's "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been, " citing them as the reason the story fills the reader with fear even though it takes place in familiar surroundings.

Joyce Carol Oates's ability to absorb and then to transmit in her fiction the terror which is often a part of living in America today has been frequently noted and admired. For instance, Walter Sullivan praises her skill by noting that "horror resides in the transformation of what we know best, the intimate and comfortable details of our lives made suddenly threatening." Although he does not identify it as such, Sullivan's comment aptly describes a classic instance of a grotesque Intrusion: a familiar world suddenly appears alien. Oates frequently evokes the grotesque in her fiction, drawing upon both its traditional or demonic and its contemporary or psychological...

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This section contains 2,413 words
(approx. 7 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? Study Guide
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