Detailansicht

Mystery and suspense in Joyce Carol Oates's recent short fiction
Marlene Kleinl
Art der Arbeit
Diplomarbeit
Universität
Universität Wien
Fakultät
Philologisch-Kulturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Betreuer*in
Margarete Rubik
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DOI
10.25365/thesis.26522
URN
urn:nbn:at:at-ubw:1-30222.99430.949463-7
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Abstracts

Abstract
(Deutsch)
Summary in German: Das Thema dieser Diplomarbeit ist die Analyse der Anwendung von suspense und mystery und ihren Effekten auf den Leser in neueren Kurzgeschichten der zeitgenössischen amerikanischen Autorin Joyce Carol Oates. Um eine akkurate Auseinandersetzung mit diesen fiktionalen Elementen zu erreichen ist es notwendig die zentralen Themen im umfangreichen Schaffen der Autorin, wie auch ihre literarischen Einflüsse und ihre persönliche Auffassung von Literatur zu dokumentieren. In einem weiteren Schritt soll auf diverse Theorien der amerikanischen Kurzgeschichte eingegangen werden, die mit Edgar Allan Poe ihren Anfang nahmen. Ein weiteres Kapitel beschäftigt sich mit verschiedenen Definitionen von suspense und dessen Anwendung und Wirkung in literarischen Texten. Im nächsten Kapitel wird mystery im Zusammenhang mit gothic elements erläutert, was folgende Punkte beinhaltet: Die gothic tradition und ihre Ursprünge in England, American Gothic, der Doppelgänger, weibliche und männliche Charaktere in Gothic Fiction und Abjection. Hier werden bereits erste Verweise auf das Vorkommen dieser Elemente in den Kurzgeschichten von Oates gezeigt. Dieses Kapitel schließt den theoretischen Teil dieser Diplomarbeit ab. Der analytische Teil dieser Arbeit besteht darin in sechs ausgewählten Kurzgeschichten die Anwendung und Effekte von mystery und suspense zu untersuchen. Dabei besteht jedes einzelne Kapitel aus den zwei folgenden Punkten: Mystery and suspense in Bezug auf Inhalt und Charaktere; und der Erzeugung von Spannung mittels der Sprache und anhand der Struktur der Kurzgeschichte. Ein kompaktes Resümee der Untersuchungen in den Texten schließt diese Arbeit ab. Folgende sechs Geschichten aus drei verschiedenen Kurzgeschichtensammlungen von Joyce Carol Oates werden analysiert: „Fossil Figures“, „Death Cup“, „Beersheba“ und „A Hole in the Head“ aus The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares (2011); „The Museum of Dr. Moses“ aus The Museum of Dr. Moses (2008) und abschließend „Bleeed“ aus Give Me Your Heart: Tales of Mystery and Suspense (2011).
Abstract
(Englisch)
This Diploma Thesis focuses on the uses and effects of Mystery and Suspense in six selected short stories by Joyce Carol Oates. In order to provide comprehensive analyses of these literary methods, it is important to deal with the most important themes Oates is concerned with in her vast literary repertoire. Furthermore, Joyce Carol Oates’s narrative methods and personal and professional understanding of literature is presented, so that the reader of this thesis gets a first impression of the author’s literary oeuvre especially in short fiction. Additionally, this initial chapter will include responses of several critics to Oates’s work. A further chapter will focus on the significance of short fiction in the American literary tradition, followed by a historical overview of theoretical concepts concerning the form, style, structure and themes of the American by famous authors such as Poe, James and Hawthorne in the 19th century. Modern views on the creation of short fiction will include opinions by Flannery O’Connor as well as Joyce Carol Oates herself. In the next chapter, theories of suspense in narrative fiction will be introduced, including factors that are to be obeyed in order to create a suspenseful text. The closing chapter of the thesis’s theoretical part will deal with mystery, not in the sense of the thriller or detective story, but in connection with the popular Gothic literary tradition and especially the American Gothic in which Oates is integrated. Due to the fact that in Gothic fiction an author deals with strange and unexpected events that trigger the reader’s curiosity and anticipation, it is a useful point of departure with regard to the mysterious experiences and actions of Oates’s characters in the selected stories. In this context I will highlight three Gothic elements which can be identified in several stories: the notion of the double, the portrayal of male and female characters as well as the concept of abjection. These are significant elements in Oates’s creation of mystery and suspense. The analytical part of this diploma thesis will contain an in-depth discussion concerning mystery and suspense in the following six stories, which are taken from three different recent short story collections: “Fossil Figures”, “Death Cup” (from The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares , 2011),“The Museum of Dr. Moses” (from The Museum of Dr. Moses, 2008), “A Hole in the Head”, “Beersheba” (from The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares, 2011) and “Bleeed” (from Give Me Your Heart: Tales of Mystery and Suspense, 2011). I have specifically chosen these six short stories, due to the fact that they are part of collections that explicitly focus on personal conflicts between characters which evolve around mysterious situations and experiences. Furthermore, each of the stories includes at least one element of Gothic Fiction. Therefore it is my aim to arrange the six stories under the following considerations: the aspect of the double in “Fossil Figures” and “Death Cup”, the notion of the mad doctor as in “The Museum of Dr. Moses” and “A Hole in the Head”, the revengeful female character from the past as in “Beersheba” and the notion of rape and violence in “Bleeed”. Moreover, in “Fossil Figures” and “The Museum of Dr. Moses” the gothic notion of abjection can be analysed. Every analysis of the stories will consist of two points: the description of plot and characters with the aim to show that a conflict between two opposed characters creates suspense and that the events which are happening are mysterious. The second point is devoted to the formal criteria in the creation of suspense which includes point of view, structure and stylistic elements. The method I will use in order to highlight Oates’s creation of mystery and suspense is both descriptive and hermeneutical. It is then the final aim of this diploma thesis to figure out in which ways Joyce Carol Oates creates mystery and suspense and its effects on the reader. In this sense it is also my aim to show how her method of mystery and suspense differs between the stories, which similarities can be identified and which story is most effective as suspenseful reading experience. These results will be presented in a comprehensive synopsis, which concludes this diploma thesis.

Schlagwörter

Schlagwörter
(Englisch)
Joyce Carol Oates Mystery Suspense Gothic
Schlagwörter
(Deutsch)
Joyce Carol Oates Spannung Geheimnisse
Autor*innen
Marlene Kleinl
Haupttitel (Englisch)
Mystery and suspense in Joyce Carol Oates's recent short fiction
Publikationsjahr
2013
Umfangsangabe
102 S.
Sprache
Englisch
Beurteiler*in
Margarete Rubik
Klassifikation
18 Einzelne Sprachen und Literaturen allgemein > 18.03 Englische Sprache und Literatur
AC Nummer
AC10839343
Utheses ID
23702
Studienkennzahl
UA | 343 | | |
Universität Wien, Universitätsbibliothek, 1010 Wien, Universitätsring 1