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Hi Howya Doin Literary Analysis

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The New and Lonesome Normal
Joyce Oates’s “Hi Howya Doin” depicts the violence that has captured and encapsulated today’s culture. The un-deemed murder of an innocent jogger in the end of this story validates and justifies the fear that so many individuals feel. In Oates’s short story, “Hi Howya Doin”, the protagonist is depicted as a “Good-looking husky guy six-foot-four in the late twenties or early thirties, Caucasian male…..solid built as a fire hydrant, carries himself like an athlete, or an ex-athlete” (214). Through the police report, giving the description of the protagonist, Oates foretells his surprising fate at the beginning of the story which in turn, creates tension and suspense for the reader as the protagonist goes about what
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The theme of the story is about the happiness in life so many people have numbed themselves to or feel as though they are forbidden to feel. Through the surprise and ironic death of the protagonist, Oates shows how easily that joy and happiness can disappear or be ripped away. The setting and theme of this story relates to our current society and how individuals within society feel entitled to extreme privacy and personal space and are unable to cope with stress, anxiety and the struggles of everyday life. Oates also depicts and how an invasion of this could trigger irrational reactions to something as small as a…show more content…
This creates the anticipation of danger for the readers through the story. When the protagonist encounters his final runner, the reader begins to gain the sense that this runner is different than the others that the protagonist has come across so far. This runner is experiencing extreme emotional turbulence which is shown through his desire of avoidance and introverted instincts. Through this, Oates exposes how a friendly greeting could be viewed as an invasion to some, especially when suffering from copious amounts of stress. Oates helps the reader understand this through a glimpse of his internal thoughts and feelings when the young man thinks “instinctively, you turn your gaze downward, no eye contact… you’ve been lost in thought... the very pain, anguish (and) futility of your thoughts”
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