Intimacy In Joyce Carol Oates 'The Fugitive'

Powerful Essays
It is in human nature for people to crave intimacy. Whether it is emotional, spiritual, or sexual, intimacy is crucial in building up one’s relationship with others. When people are not able to be intimate, they change their identities, either to achieve closeness with others or to cope with the lack of a relationship. In “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” by Joyce Carol Oates, Connie, the main character, does not have a good relationship with her family. T.C Boyle’s “The Fugitive” features a young man named Marciano, who feels isolated from society due to his race and a disease he carries. The narrator of “Araby” by James Joyce is a young man who craves sexual intimacy with a girl pledged to become a nun, and is nearly driven mad with…show more content…
Boyle, Marciano feels isolated and slowly loses touch with his humanity, which is the basis of his identity. Marciano is set apart from society for several reasons, the two most important being his race and the deadly disease that he carries. Marciano is a Mexican man living in America, and often feels as if others alienate him for that reason. When he enters a bar to purchase a beer, he meets “three customers, all white...[who] all turn to look at him.” (Boyle 6) They proceed to laugh at him, and although Marciano is not certain what they are mocking him for, he continuously notes that they are white men and that he is not. On top of dealing with the racial aspect of his isolation, Marciano must also deal with a strain of drug-resistant tuberculosis that he created by neglecting his medicine. As a last resort, he is forced to wear a mask in order to prevent infecting others, and this makes him feel “like he [has] a target painted on his back.” (1) The mask makes him conspicuous, and the disease separates him from healthy people, who fear the danger he brings. Due to his constant isolation, Marciano is unable to form an intimate connection with anyone around him. Marciano tries desperately to escape the alienation he faces daily. In the process of doing this, he slowly loses his humanity, the most vital part to his identity. At first, Marciano becomes angry when people treat him as “less than human” (3) and claims that “he [has] his rights” (11) as…show more content…
Before his brother’s death, Arnold is extremely close to his family. He especially looks up to his brother, and is uneasy when he seems to have an advantage over his sleeping sibling. He “never [tires] of watching Eugie” (Berriault 2) and is extremely fond of his brother. After Arnold accidentally kills Eugie, he still turns to the other members of his family for help and support. While being questioned by the Sheriff, he “expects his father to have an answer” (6), and is dismayed when one is not given. He later expects his mother to “tell him to come [into her room], to allow him to dig his head into her blankets and tell her about the terror” (8), and does not understand when she turns him away. Arnold’s intimacy with his family is such a large part of his identity that when they shut him out, his entire demeanor changes. Before, he was innocent and open, but he slowly shuts off his emotions and becomes wary of others. Although he was perfectly comfortable being naked a single day ago, he now feels that “his nakedness [has] become unpardonable” (9). Arnold is beginning to close himself off to the world, and is not nearly as carefree as he was before experiencing the betrayal of his parents. Before, he was eager to please, but when his mother finally speaks to him, “he [calls] upon his pride to protect him” (9) and answers flatly that he
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