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Spaces of Expression and Repression in Post-Millennial North-American Literature and Visual Culture

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Edited By Izabella Kimak and Julia Nikiel

The essays included in this book offer an overview of literary works, films, TV series, and computer games, which reflect current social and political developments since the beginning of this century. The contributions intend to x-ray the most crucial aspects of contemporary North-American literature and culture. Addressing a variety of media, the authors of the essays probe the many ways in which repression and expression are the primary keywords for understanding contemporary American life and culture.

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Self-Expression and Sexual Repression in Joyce Carol Oates’s “The White Cat” and Beasts (Joanna Stolarek)

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Joanna Stolarek

Self-Expression and Sexual Repression in Joyce Carol Oates’s “The White Cat” and Beasts

Abstract: The aim of this article is to examine the forms of self-expression and sexual repression in Joyce Carol Oates’s “The White Cat” (1995) and Beasts (2002). The article analyses independent female characters, shows how Oates draws on Edgar Allan Poe and D. H. Lawrence and simultaneously paves the way for her own fiction.

Keywords: Joyce Carol Oates, self-expression, repression, femininity, masculinity

Joyce Carol Oates, one of the most prolific and versatile contemporary writers in the United States, is gifted with the ability to preserve her sublime integrity and individuality in her art. The author of numerous novels, short fiction, drama, critical essays, theatrical plays, poetry, several books of non-fiction and literary criticism, Oates frequently underlines that writing, especially the writing of novels, is a process of assigning value to human experience in the social world. With respect to the responsibility and professional ethics of the artist, Oates remarks: “A writer’s job, ideally, is to act as the conscience of his race. People frequently misunderstand serious art because it is often violent and unattractive. I wish the world were a prettier place but I wouldn’t be honest as a writer if I ignored the actual conditions around me” (Oates Conversations xiii). The novelist is an artist who dramatizes the nightmarish conditions of the present, with its angst, paranoia, dislocation and escalating conflict. Her fiction often focuses on...

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