Joyce Carol Oates Long Fiction Analysis
There have been few writers to match Joyce Carol Oates for sheer numbers—her novels, plays, short stories, and poems appear to multiply by themselves on library shelves. Even though the curse of quantity is normally mediocrity, Oates consistently supplies a product of the highest quality, dense with meaning and filled with beautiful words and full-blown characters.
Oates’s poor, unimaginative characters typically ply their swords through a fogged-in existence inflicted on them by a fatalistic creator. They cannot escape from the miasma they must breathe, and so they are poisoned by it, confused by muddled thoughts in an unkind world. The characters finally become enraged by their situation and so do bloody battle to extricate themselves from it. Sometimes as a result they resign themselves to the human condition of conflict; at other times, they experience a tragic lack of resolution.
With Shuddering Fall
In her first novel, With Shuddering Fall, Oates introduces a theme that has pervaded almost all the rest of her fiction works: the awful responsibility of freedom. Her characters struggle to divest themselves of their little lives in order to achieve personal freedom, but they are unable to cope with the consequences of their release from their former lives. They learn that they have abandoned not only their pasts but also their identities. Then they must struggle either to reclaim their selves or to forge new...
(The entire section is 5232 words.)
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