Uncertainty between expectation and self-insertion in the invention of J. Carol oates


Sylvia Stone

Oates’s aspirational characters desire a new identity in which they re-invent themselves. The act of rebirth is portrayed by distinctive symbols of awakening into a new identity, or by the use of the Phoenix image, which, in Oates’s work is influenced by Nietzsche’s theory of superman and its re-creation. Nietzsche’s concept of re-invention is evident in the isolation and abolition of morality in Oates’s characters. Thus Blonde depicts destructive re-creation influenced by Nietzsche whilst Wonderland and The Gravedigger’s Daughter, where the Christian influence is prevalent, instead shows its version of constructive re-creation. Oates juxtaposes a person’s re-creation through God, which symbolizes light, with its dark alternative.


Share this article