Because It Is Bitter and Because It Is My Heart

Topics: Joyce Carol Oates, Personal life, Love Pages: 3 (928 words) Published: October 12, 2008
Because It Is Bitter and Because It Is My Heart

Can a person’s desire to fit in among society be so strong that it becomes the driving force of his life? Throughout Joyce Carol Oates's “Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart”, the main characters are so desperate to be accepted by the society that this very desire molds their decisions and their lifestyle. The longing to be accepted burns so deep within Duke and Persia Courtney, Jinx Fairchild and most importantly, Iris Courtney that their lives are built around it. Duke and Persia Courtney clearly base their lives around their desire to belong. First, Duke Courtney does this through his gambling habit. Through gambling, he can obtain acceptance in two aspects of his life: society and finances. Duke Courtney attends horse races where he not only makes bets, but also socializes with people of the upper class. By socializing with the men at the racetrack and forming friendships with them, he makes a place for himself in society. Although Mr. Courtney can satisfy his need to be socially accepted through gambling, his main motive is money. Money, to Duke Courtney, seems to be able to buy all happiness. With the little money he wins as a result of his bets, he indulges himself and his family with material things. By accumulating things such as expensive clothing and furniture, the Courtney family can establish a deceivingly-high financial standing in society as well. Mr. Courtney, without a doubt, strives to fit in which molds his lifestyle. In addition to Duke, Persia Courtney also has the need to feel accepted by others. While Duke is consumed in gambling to make friends and money, Persia resorts to alcohol. This lifestyle is adopted mainly after Persia's permanent separation from Duke. Iris recalls many accounts of her mother arriving home late in the night escorted by many different men. Not only does Persia drink to feel socially accepted, but she obviously feels like she needs to...
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