I/Nature of the text
This is the first of two extracts from Joyce Carol Oates’ novel “We Were The Mulvaneys”, which was published in 1988.
II/Summary and analysis
As thisextract is narrative and psychological rather than argumentative I will not devote a paragraph to the issues raised. I will summarize and analyse the extract at the same time.
The issue raised in thesecond extract is whether clubs are UN-American or not from a cultural, historical point of view? Are they contrary to American values of equal opportunity? Are they an attempt to create a form ofaristocracy?
This issue is hinted at in this extract through the two characters’ difference of opinion.
The first sentence of this extract is “Not those kind of people. We’re not!”
This is what Corinnefeels about the members of the Mount Ephraim Country Club, who never invited her husband Michael to join. She feels Michael and she don’t belong with them.
Corinne is secretly relieved each yearwhen Michael is NOT invited to join.
In her heart she calls the club people “self-important selfish snobs”.
This passage focuses on psychological analysis and provides a narrative backdrop (toile defond) for the argument between the two spouses which is told in the second passage.
Michael Mulvaney and his wife are a reasonably happy couple. They have children, Michael runs a roofing company, ownsa farm and horses, and makes a good living. They are not among the most affluent but they are well liked by their fellow citizens in general. Michael has “made it” one could say.
In Corinne’s eyesnothing is missing from their lives. But Michael is dissatisfied. He is not content with what he has. He longs for more recognition. In his eyes joining the club is a chance to become “something of acountry squire”. This reference to British gentry illustrates the difference in the spouses’ mentalities. Unlike Michael Corinne feels not a bit of nostalgia for European aristocracy. She is a...