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We Were the Mulvaneys

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Ephraim Country Club one afternoon and notices a group of his former friends sitting together, laughing. Fortunately, Patrick gains some insight into the futility of revenge when he witnesses Lundt's near drowning. But it furnishes energy enough to animate as well an almost 500-page novel about how one family’s story is also nothing less than the story of all America and of all life on earth.

When Patrick decides to kill the boy who raped Marianne, he phones Judd from college and enlists him in the plan, instructing Judd to secretly remove one of the rifles from the house. Judd's way of dealing with his shame is to tell secrets, as a small-town newspaperman and as the narrator of this book. Although individual Mulvaneys continue, the Mulvaneys—the individual members organized in an oedipal family led by the father—are past. Such an affiliation between world and text allows discourse between the two registers; the changed treatment of the father in We Were the Mulvaneys resonates with the changed treatment of cultural fathers, such as Jefferson.As in Dostoevsky, her characters seethe and roil, actuated by unconscious manias and half-uttered desires; as in Lawrence, she sets the human drama in its natural frame, amid animal heat, stony cliffs, sucking bogs, killing winds, as if to say that we are a part of nature—of its hideous violence as of its pastoral beauty or poetic sublimity—and shouldn’t fool ourselves otherwise. After marrying Corinne, his family grew, and his business, Mulvaney Roofing, prospered, growing into one of the largest in the county. Oates's eye for detail and understanding of the emotions of damaged and fragile human beings allow readers to follow six individuals on their separate paths while never losing sight of what makes each one of them a Mulvaney. I’m confused by Oates’ use of Judd as a narrator, as she often slips into third person with scenes involving Judd. in such a way that the family, as dysfunctional families do, wraps itself around his demons, leaving Corinne and the children time to find themselves only when he is gone.

From Michael come a gift of friendliness and an interest in social attention, visible in his strong desire, over Corinne's objection, to join the local country club. He experiences Green Isle Co-op for himself on a trip there with his mother, and he knows more than anyone else about Patrick's plan to abduct Zachary Lundt because Patrick has involved Judd in the plan. His background is a mystery: no one even knows his true first name, which is described as "something odd and awkward like 'Charlesworth.Ephraim High School, spends the night at a friend's house in town and phones the next day for a ride home. Late in his life, after he has taken jobs from men he would not have even hired at Mulvaney Roofing, he spends an evening with his son, Mike, who finds that his father barely has a grasp on reality anymore.

Acknowledging black descendents of Jefferson sheds a necessary critical light on the construction of national ideals as well as extending who is entitled by their legacy. By now it's become trite to exclaim at the length of Oates' books, or at the sheer abundance of them. The aftermath of the event drives different family members into isolation, alcoholism, and a revenge scheme that includes kidnapping and murder. In real life, the chances of such a spontaneous outbreak of contentment would be unlikely, and Oates's way of handling their changes in fortune outside the book's narrative only serves to make readers suspicious. The happy people that are reintroduced to the readers in the book's epilogue are happy because they are individuals and are in control of their own lives.Oates is quite deliberate in making her readers aware of the difference between the possible ending and the new one she is writing.

Both Foxy and Little Boots crowded eagerly against us, nudged their damp anxious noses against us begging Us, too! When Marianne goes back to school in a few weeks, there are rumors and jokes whispered that imply she is promiscuous.

Oates shows that Michael is a likely candidate for alcoholism even if the rape had not occurred and triggered his behavior. As Michael sinks deeper and deeper into alcoholism, she takes control of family matters, including the most painful to her, the sale of High Point Farm.

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