"Shopping" Joyce Carol Oates

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A relationship between a mother and daughter may not be perfect at all times. There are many things that can make the job of being a mother tough and one of them is being a single mother. In the short story, “Shopping” by Joyce Carol Oates there is no exception to modern day hardships that come along the road of motherhood. The turbulence in Nola and Mrs. Dietrich relationship is shown during their shopping trip to the mall where Nola hardly speaks to her mother. Mrs. Dietrich refuses to let go of the child inside Nola.

Nola was once an awkward girl, overweight, unhappy. She was prone to sharing her random knowledge when she was younger, much to the disappointment of her parents. “When they were alone Mr. Dietrich said angrily to Mrs. Dietrich, ‘Can’t you control her in front of people at least? Mrs.Dietrich was angry too, and frightened. She said, I try.”(Oates 279.) Nola had been very unpopular and serious at school. Nola sent away to Maine to attend a boarding school. She then matured into a young beautiful woman and that is when Mrs. Dietrich’s obsession with her daughter began to grow. Nola was home on vacations and all her mother wanted to do is spend time with her and go shopping, “an old ritual, Saturday morning shopping.” (Oates 275.) Nola was seventeen years of age she clearly didn’t want to spend her spring break vacations with her mother. Nola didn’t write or called her mother when she was gone. While Mrs. Dietrich drove to the mall that morning she tried to talk to Nola but she only got answers in monosyllables clearly indicating the lack of communication they had with each other. There is a great amount of change in Nola and Mrs. Dietrich is shocked and opposed to it.

Mrs. Dietrich wants to be a part of her daughter life especially while she is vacations but it seems Nola feels the opposite way, “the trip to the mall has been postponed twice.” ( Oates 276.) Mrs. Dietrich is a woman left by her husband rather than...
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