The themes and social concerns are those of the traditional Oates novel: power, its use and abuse; familial relationships; the condition of women; the relationship of destiny to place, in this instance a castle in the wilds of the Adirondack mountains in upper New York State; the eccentricities of the human kind; love versus sex; human concern versus selfishness; society versus the obsessed ego of the individual. Oates is also using the Gothic mode to write a hymn to her native state, romanticizing its history, and exploring the glories and the terrors of both its landscape and its history.
(The entire section is 99 words.)
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