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Initiated into Subordination. On Joyce Carol Oates’s I’ll Take You There

Abstract

The article proposes a sociological reading of the novel I’ll Take You There by Joyce Carol Oates. Though the book can be classified as an initiation novel, it also constitutes an accusation of the very procedure of initiation as forcing individuals to agree and adapt to unfair social mechanisms. The context of the protagonist’s struggles is provided by the social structure of the early-1960s United States, with its inherent misogyny, anti-Semitism, racism and classism. All these factors shape her destiny in accordance with the logic of social reproduction. A destiny of overwhelming power of allocation, which the heroine is trying to resist. As an academic novel, I’ll Take You There is also an insightful deconstruction of the universalism preached within the Western academic world, and especially philosophy.

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