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"Shopping" by Joyce Carol Oates is one of the quintessential short stories on the difficulties of raising children and of the conflicts within children themselves to be free of constraints and explore things on their own terms. The present tense dramatizes the ongoing, constant nature of the conflicts between parents and children. The past tense narrative elements are introduced to show that present problems have their seeds in the past. The particular events in this story pertain, of course, only to Mrs. Dietrich and Nola, and they would be different for another mother and daughter, but the general problems in the relationship seem common.
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