Postmodernism And Joyce Carol Oates Essay

2009 words - 8 pages

On PostmodernismFor my short essay I will focus on a postmodern reading of Joyce Carol Oates, "How I Contemplated the World from the Detroit House of Corrections and Began My Life Over Again." More precisely, as a postmodern text. Postmodernism refers to texts that reject coherence in a narrative, objective truth, and show doubts about the reliability of language to communicate. Postmodern techniques that are evident in Oates story were fragmented narrative, disrupted time sequence, disunified subject, and metanarrative.The first aspect I will talk about is fragmented or nonsense narrative. To me these terms are pretty self explanatory. Fragment narrative is a narrative given in bits and pieces, as opposed to a straightforward linear narrative. It also uses fragment and run on sentences, or to put it another way, tends to disregard a lot of syntactical and grammatical rules. Nonsense narrative most of the time falls under fragmented narrative too, it is a narrative that has no clear meaning, yet can have shades of meaning and ambiguous meaning. Nonsense narrative (and fragment narrative) is also characterized by a lack of coherence relative to writing in the modern period. The first example of the story I will use is in the very beginning. Directly under the title there is a small "paragraph" of fragment or nonsense narrative. I don't even really know what to call it and due to the capitalization of most of the words it seems to be an extended secondary title. It says, "Notes for an Essay for an English Class at Baldwin Country Day School; Poking Around in Debris; Disgust and Curiosity; A Revelation of the Meaning of Life; A Happy Ending (pg 522)." The reader is not sure what to make of this; it is in fragment form and at first glance may appear to have no meaning. As I read the story through again I began to think that this was the author talking about how she had found an essay in the trash at a school and she was basing this story on it. Later when I came upon the part where the girl was writing her essay it made me think they may be the same one. It says, "I work on my lesson [an essay] for Mr. Forest. I have filled up eleven pages. Words pour out of me and won't stop. I want to tell everything. . . (528). There are many examples of fragment narrative in the story, and in fact the story is largely made up of fragmented narrative, rarely keeping with any linear thought pattern for too long. Like the example above though, they usually will weave in and out of each other, returning to make connections off and on throughout the story. Oate's use of fragment narrative affects the story in a number of ways. It affects the tone making it seem jagged, and modern. These work well with the context of the story because it is a very grim tale, and it is also a story that seems to be in the latter half of the twentieth century. The fragmented narrative also goes well with the story because there is no dialogue. If there had been dialogue in fragmented...

Find Another Essay On Postmodernism and Joyce Carol Oates

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?, by Joyce Carol Oates

1671 words - 7 pages Woven into the twisted short story by Joyce Carol Oates “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” stands a figure of demonic proportions; a man whose mere presence develops into an ominous fear, bringing with him a thickness of anxiety and an eerie sense of premature death. While her parents are away on a Sunday afternoon, Connie is approached by a strange man named Arnold Friend who is determined to seduce her and steal her away. Rather than

Joyce Carol Oates' Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

654 words - 3 pages Joyce Carol Oates' "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" Every person comes face to face at some point in life with vital decisions. Some of the decisions are minor ones, while others can bring turning points in life. In Joyce Carol Oates' "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?' she displays a particular instant in the main character's life. This character, Connie was caught in the difficult transition from her youth and innocence

The Devil in Joyce Carol Oates' Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

1612 words - 6 pages The Devil in Joyce Carol Oates' "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" Her name is Connie, and she is not unlike many girls of the time she lives in. She is vain, she is constantly at war with her family, and she is in an incredible rush to grow up. Her race to maturity is the trait focused on in Joyce Carol Oates' "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been." It splits Connie into two different personalities: 'One for home, and

Summary of Where are you going where have you been? by Joyce Carol Oates

575 words - 2 pages relief that you’ve finally have made it. For many, our minds play tricks on us when we feel a moment of fear, however for others it may turn out to be their worst nightmare. In the story, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates, a young girl is forced to make a decision that will change her life forever when she is confronted by a man obsessed with her beauty. In the beginning, the author introduces Connie, a 15-year

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been by Joyce Carol Oates

1329 words - 5 pages There are always two sides to every story. The short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been”, by Joyce Carol Oates is a prefect example of just that. In this short story, the main character is a fifteen year old girl, named Connie. The young adolescent has two sides to herself; one when she is at home and one when she is out with her friends. When Connie is at home, she acts childlike. However, when she goes out she tries to act

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates

1311 words - 5 pages Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” is a modern interpretation of the classic narrative of evil tempting innocence. Oates’ version of the devil allegory combines this Christian model of temptation with contemporary secular society. Connie is a pretty fifteen year-old girl, beginning the process of maturation into adulthood. She begins to become aware of her ability to act of her own volition, but her naivete

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates

1171 words - 5 pages culture or what he would for his culture to be. The two girls both made conscious and unconscious decisions throughout their lives to try to find their identity with escapism from their families, their image they portrayed in society, and the new influences they allowed to enter their lives. These decisions ultimately determined their identity for them. Works Cited Oates, Joyce Carol. “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” Literature and Ourselves sixth edition. Vivian Garcia, 2009. Pearson education. 106- 120. Print. Walker, Alice. “Everyday Use” Literature and Ourselves sixth edition. Vivian Garcia, 2009. Pearson education. 912-920. Print.

Where Are You Going Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates

1436 words - 6 pages The decisions that you make throughout life can make or break you; you just have to make the right ones. In Joyce Carol Oates story “Where Are Your Going Where Have You Been?”, the main character is Connie. Connie had an older sister but she was nothing like her. Her older sister always pleased her mom, and Connie did not care. Connie and her friend hang out and go to the shopping center or the movies. One day they decided that instead of

Joyce Carol Oates' Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?

1208 words - 5 pages Connie, the main character in Joyce Carol Oates' "Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been" is a fifteen-year-old girl, just realizing her beauty. It is summer vacation, and she is spending her time either with boys or daydreaming about them. Connie is a typical teenage girl with a desperate need for independence. She does not get along with her mother, and her father is seldom around. He works a great deal of the time, and when he comes home

Contrast essay of "The Lady with the Pet Dog" by Anton Chekov and "the Lady with the Pet Dog" by Joyce Carol Oates'

752 words - 3 pages While both the original and the reworked versions of "The Lady with the Pet Dog" are interesting stories, Anton Chekov's is more compelling than Joyce Carol Oates's due to a point of view from a different character, a stronger main character overall, and a more intriguing setting.In these two stories the account of what takes place is told from opposing sides of the relationship. In Chekov's version of "The Lady with the Pet Dog," the story is

Reality is Like A Dream in Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been by Joyce Carol Oates

1568 words - 6 pages Reality is Like A Dream in Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been by Joyce Carol Oates Joyce Carol Oates intrigues readers in her fictional piece “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” by examining the life of a fifteen year old girl. She is beautiful, and her name is Connie. Oates lets the reader know that “everything about her [Connie] had two sides to it, one for home, and one for anywhere but home (27). When Connie goes out

Similar Essays

Joyce Carol Oates Essay

2066 words - 8 pages Joyce Carol Oates wrote, "Where are you going? Where have you been?" for Bob Dylan. The story however is really about the man named Charles Schmid. He is known as the Pied Piper of Tucson. He killed three girls and is suspected of having killed a young boy as well. She dedicated her story to Bob Dylan because she used his song "It's all Over Now Baby Blue" as an inspiration. Joyce Carol Oates wrote about the story through the

Comparison On "Song Of Songs" By Ellen Gilchrist And "Shopping" By Joyce Carol Oates

891 words - 4 pages Unconditional LoveWhat is love? Love is a very special and meaningful word to each human being. Unconditional love is a special type of love that can happen when each person accepts each others without hesitation. In most families, the bond between parents and child is one of unconditional love. However, not all families' relationships are ideal. In the two short stories "Shopping" by Joyce Carol Oates and "Song of Songs" by Ellen Gilchrist, the

"We Were The Mulvaneys" By Joyce Carol Oates.

1002 words - 4 pages The book, "We Were the Mulvaneys" by Joyce Carol Oates, is the story of an "all American family" that falls apart after their daughter is raped. The father, who once had a successful roofing company, lets his business slide and devotes his life to alcohol and law suits, and the three brothers either abandon the family or try to find a method of gaining vengeance for their sister. This particular excerpt describes a scene by the brook, where the

An Analysis Of Joyce Carol Oates’ Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been

1882 words - 8 pages An Analysis of Joyce Carol Oates’ Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been Joyce Carol Oates is one of the most productive writers of our time. Between 1971-95, Oates published twenty-five novels, eighteen short story compilations, three collections of novellas, five volumes of poetry, six editions of plays, eight books of essays, and countless more umcollected works (Kellman 487). As the format for her writing varies, so does her subject