Jane Hammons's Reviews > Marya

Marya by Joyce Carol Oates
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Mar 02, 11

bookshelves: fiction

Years ago I used an excerpt from this novel (it was excerpted in a St. Martin's textbook) in a comp course I was teaching and was amazed by the layers of the story (when Marya is a student at Port Orskenay college). Students responded in complex ways to it as well. I heard Oates speak recently and was motivated to finally read the whole novel. For me the novel sags a bit in the "academic" section when Marya is a prof and the ending is abrupt in an unsettling way that I suspect is intentional. But overall I enjoyed it, and I think what it has to say about working class girls going to college is not only historically important but relevant, and perhaps, sadly, becoming even more relevant today.
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