Joyce Carol Oates Where Is Here

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Joyce Carol Oates’s story, “Where Is Here?” is the haunting tale of a family who receives a strange visitor who tours their home claiming to have lived there as a child. The work is incredibly elusive, leaving the reader with many questions by not naming the characters and mentioning many characters that are never seen. Oates leaves her audience in the dark with this work, but she does give them a few clues as to what is really going on. When the visitor first appears, Oates writes “He had not seen the house since January 1949… he thought of it often, dreamed of it often, never more powerfully than in recent months.” The father agrees and offers him to come inside, but the stranger denies him by saying, “I think I’ll just poke around outside…show more content…
Homes are incredibly private places, and are made with places to hide one’s life, with each room having different levels of security. The first two room the stranger visits, the kitchen and the dining room, are rooms typically regarded as a rooms made for guests and are typically designed to be big enough to fit lots of people in. So it would make sense that the mother and father are quite alright with hosting a visitor in their kitchen and dining room. The third room they visit is the living room, a slightly more secure room in the home. This is where the family lives. This is where the family gathers to be with one another. This is where they keep their pictures and important things. The last places visited is the upstair, and this totally angers the parents. In homes, the purpose of upstairs rooms are to be closed off from the rest of the house. Upstairs rooms in the house have the highest level of security, so when the visitor invades this part of the house, all of the protective walls come crumbling down. As the stranger is finally leaving the house, the father and the mother get into an argument and the father shoved the mother, leaving a bruise on her. Through the visitor visiting and infiltrating each room, we are able to see the family for what it truly is. The order of the rooms the stranger visits is a metaphor for revealing the family’s true
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