screw

This page has been replaced & up-dated. Do click on the author's name below for the new page:

Joyce Carol Oates

"I am concerned with only one thing, the moral and social conditions of my generation."

Interview with the Chicago Tribune, book world editor.

line

lineAgainst Nature

The entire article is here.

See http://2010yeagleyenglish.pbworks.com/f/Against Nature by Oates019.pdf

 

"She excites an expectation that she cannot satisfy."

Henry David Thoreau, 1854

"It eludes us even as it prepares to swallow us up, books and all."

line 10

Title | her point | discovering motives | basic format | uses of evidence | authority | structure | means | argument

line

 

In Against Nature, author Joyce Carol Oates takes us on an inward journey to encounter the exterior quality of all our lives and as she moves us through the grotesque and smarmy[1] imagery of nature writing–even in references to excellent literature [2] –to challenge our prejudices.

 


J. M. W. Turner's "Frosty Morning," oil on canvass, 1813. [3]

 

What does she say?

 

She allows us to take nothing for granted, as she examines our biases so that we are stripped of any reasonable emotional defense when she turns the argument upside down; leaving us with little in the way to rationally challenge her conclusion.

 

   

lines 33-34, ¶ 22- p. 843.

 

Title | her point | discovering motives | basic format | uses of evidence | authority | structure | means | argument

Discovering the complexity of motive when writing:

Joyce Carol Oates,

"The subject is there only by the grace of the author's language,"

Oates, Against Nature; Anthology. page 843, line 31-32.

If that is true, then the structure of the essay reveals a deliberate attempt to frame and then reveal in the frames a set of opposites, though starting in a deeply personal and ending an a personal manner of expressing a complex story.

Format

What

An essay

"all around me nature thrummed with life..."

When

She experienced an attack of Paroxysmal tachycardia.

Where

Along the Delaware and Raritan Canal, a trail.

How

"The earth seems to shift forward as a presence, hard, emphatic, not mere surface but a genuine force."

Tie this to:

"And it pleases our senses, in any case, as the physicists' chill universe of numbers certainly does not."

line 30

See http://web65.rollins.edu/~jsiry/Visual Learning.html - question

 

Title | her point | discovering motives | basic format | uses of evidence | authority | structure | means | argument

 

Words                                              Evidence

an inward journey                                        "completely oblivious to [her] the predicament"

 

to encounter the exterior quality of           "one vast democratic grave"                 

p.59.

 

all our lives and                                           The color of the sky "a mere optical illusion"              

p. 59.

through the grotesque and smarmy                               

paragraphs; ¶s, 17-18-19-20,                p. 60.  

 

A classical allusion:

"In any case where is nature? one might (skeptically) inquire. Who has looked upon her / its face and survived?"

paragraph ¶, 21.

 

"Nature is mouths, or maybe a single mouth. Why glamorize it, romanticize it . . . . Nature is more than a mouth–it's a dazzling variety of mouths. And it pleases the senses, in any case, as the physicists' chill universe of numbers certainly does not."

line 30+

 

"An event to rethink all the acceptable cliches that reinforce our narrow perspectives."

 

Title | her point | discovering motives | basic format | uses of evidence | authority | structure | means | argument

 

Oates in the essay does the following:

Structure:

  1. Poem "The writer's resistance to Nature"
  2. Personal encounter (near death; hence: out of control) {setting}
  3. A complete brief sketch of the argument: dimensions, illusions, infinity & necessity.
  4. references to authors:
    1. Wallace Stevens - metaphor of the Jar
    2. Emily Dickinson - alludes to the buzzing of a fly
    3. Henry David Thoreau, "yet another, and ingenious form of storytelling"
    4. Shakespeare's King Lear
    5. Robert Frost allusion
    6. Herman Melville
    7. Oscar Wilde
    8. Castigating Thoreau's transcendentalism
    9. Friedrich Neitszche
    10. William Butler Yeats' poem
    11. returns to Wallace Stevens for support "The writer's resistance to Nature"
  5. "Early Nature memories. . . ." Childhood memories, the grotesque
  6. "My resistance to Nature writing" -- her personal perspective revealed
  7. Inference, an attack on Platonism "anything other than . . . is - ness."
  8. A classical allusion to the story of Diana and Actaeon
  9. She questions her own expression, at least rhetorically "isn't this all exaggeration?"
  10. Nature as a layered manuscript
  11. Using Thoreau's duality of seeing Nature as both experience and oversoul
  12. Melville's "a blankness ten times blank."
  13. Oscar Wilde is used to reveal her thesis clearly.
  14. Poem Byzantium, by Yeats
  15. Her voice in the revelation (hyper-reality) conveys the climax of the piece.
  16. The personal story (in control) of the ants in search of her poem.

Title | her point | discovering motives | basic format | uses of evidence | authority | structure | means | argument

 

Oates deliberately uses many other writers to draw on for pushing her argument.                                                 

 

"She is our creation" says Oscar Wilde "It is in our brains that she quickens to life."

p. 62.

The goal is to unmask our pretensions and challenge our biased, hobbling prejudices.  

                             "our fiercely romantic expectations."      

p. 62.

"Why glamorize it, romanticize it..."

She quotes recognized literature whose authors are an easily appreciated literary or critical authority:

Henry David Thoreau

"A palimpsest of sorts you choose to read, layer by layer, always with care, always cautiously, in proportion to your psychological strength."

She skillfully other authors as leverage to her point

Oscar Wilde

William B. Yeats

Wallace Stevens

"In the presence of extraordinary actuality, consciousness takes the place of imagination."

Her voice:

"In any case, without the 'I'. . . the microscopic life-particles would die with it...."

 

What are the key points.

This is an old page -- go here instead

Title | her point | discovering motives | basic format | uses of evidence | authority | structure | means | argument

The selection is from, ( Woman ) Writer: Occasions and Opportunities.


[1] groveling, expressing creepy behavior, ingratiating (seeking to please in an extremely disturbing manner or way), obsequious, flattering, fawning, submissive or timid.

[2] She manages to mention implicitly Emily Dickinson,  and explicitly Herman Melville, John Milton, Oscar Wilde, Henry D, Thoreau, among others.

[3] Of the dusk sky She quotes Oscar Wilde saying "it was simply a very second-rate Turner," p. 62.



plate