Joyce Carol Oates' in the region of ice - Essay Example

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Though Joyce Carol Oate’s story “In the Region of Ice” is typical of her technique of writing, it stands alone from her other works because of its psychoanalytical approach to interpreting a nun’s life that is repressed by the rigid religiosity of the religious system of…
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Joyce Carol Oates in the region of ice
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“In the Region of Ice The Story of the Repressed Nun Though Joyce Carol Oate’s story “In the Region of Ice” is typical of her technique of writing, it stands alone from her other works because of its psychoanalytical approach to interpreting a nun’s life that is repressed by the rigid religiosity of the religious system of the society. Apparently the story seems to tell the story of a nun whose instincts were aroused by a mentally troubled boy. But whether the nun’s favoritism for the psychotic boy is to be characterized as her love and passion may engender controversy. One may argue that her favoritism is to be viewed as her passion for her own “male” image that she finds in her indomitable student. The story also can be viewed as the footprints of the great changes that were taking place in the US society. Indeed Joyce Carol Oates depicts the details of the convent life of the era. This is the depiction of the era that entrepreneurs a trend to oppose any form of repression existing in any form of the society.
The fact that Sister Irene, the nun of the story runs off to solve her student Alan’s problem refers to the socializing trend in the activities of the Church. This is the modern trend in the profession of religious personnel as Sister Irene in her modern outfit wearing an abbreviated veil represents the young nuns of the late 60s or 70s. Also the story puts a serious question for it readers whether the rules and regulations that apparently ignore the human instincts are validated enough. The arousal of the carnal instincts of the nun by a psychotic boy clearly indicates the failure of religion as to the repression of the human instincts.
If approached from a psychoanalytic point of view the story yields an interpretation of the inner core of human mind. It seems to me that the nun is carried away with her student’s problem because of the reason that he represents her male “other” in many ways. In the story Allan appears to be impulsive, unreasonable, and rebellious. Sister Irene’s passion for the student can be viewed as her charm for her “self” that is revealed in Allan’s character. She sees herself that is proud, egoistic, rebellious, impulsive, etc, in him. On this point Allan can be viewed as the forbidden aspect of herself.
I think, though the story, “In the Region of Ice” is a well thought story laden with psychoanalytical implications of human mind, it seems that the skeleton of the story is yet to be fleshed out with the details of its characters. The characters seem to be more of sketches than of full fledged images. Joyce attempts to tell a lot about Sister Irene. But the nun should have been shown, rather than to be told. The Joyce Carol Oates appears to be in a rush to finish the story. After all, Joyce Carol Oates successfully depicts the tone of her era in the fusion the convent life of a nun with the psychoanalytic implication of human mind.
Works Cited
Oates, J. Carol. “In the Region of Ice”. The Longman Anthology of Short Fiction, ed. Dana Gioia & R. S. Gwynn, Longman. 2000. Read More
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