Gothic Fiction In 'Where Is Here '?'

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Author Joyce Carol Oates ' discovery of the stories of Edgar Allen Poe and Ann Radcliff “sparked her interest in Gothic fiction”. These Gothic elements typically include gruesome or violent incidents, characters in psychological or physical torment, and strong language full of dangerous meanings. Oates herself is citied as saying that "Horror is a fact of life. As a writer, I’m fascinated by all facets of life". “Where is Here?" This story is sort of eerie and tells the tale of a grown-up man who goes back to visit his childhood home. While visiting he displays several strange characteristics where he appears to regress into a child. This story examines a world in which normal life is electrified by the potential for sudden change. Domestic…show more content…
The new house owners might be the ghosts of the stranger 's parents, and somehow he has come back to his childhood home as the adult spirit of his former self. He remembers living in the house, with his parents and his sister when he was eleven, this family also has two children: a boy, who is eleven; and a girl, who is thirteen. The reader can sense that there 's a violent past, however, Oates doesn 't explicitly state whether or not there is. The stranger also has an obsession with riddles, which can be the key to understanding the plot of the story. There’s not a much literary criticism of this story, but because the riddles demonstrate infinity, this could be the purpose of the story. The part of the story that suggests that the stranger is actually a ghost is when they asked if the stranger 's mother was still alive and he says, "we 've all been dead...they 've all been dead for a…show more content…
At one point the visitor asks why the couple had 2 kids. And then says, " 'Of course...otherwise it would all come to an end." This could be foreshadowing of the father abusing his son, or something similar. When the stranger notices the window seat, he says it had been “one of his happy places! At least when Father wasn’t home”. This indicates that he had a difficult relationship with his father sometimes; he confides to the new owners, his mother would join him. “If she was in the mood, and we 'd plot together--oh, all forms of fantastical things". These lines suggest that both mother and son and possibly his sister as well were the victims of the masterful father. The basement was not a means of punishment for him as a child but instead a refuge from his abusive father. "A--controlled kind of place" wherever plants on the windowsill never perceived to bloom or maybe forever died”. Oates appears to suggest that the boy could have been abused by his parents in this "controlled" house”. The guest shows great enthusiasm for seeing the child 's room upstairs, coincidently his old room however the “master “bedroom specifically, he certainly would not like to see. Curiously, Oates utilizes quotes around the word master, maybe recommending an oppressive father as well as an
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