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Word Count: 1,002
The book We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates is the story of an all American family that falls apart after their daughter is raped The father who once had a successful roofing company lets his business slide and devotes his life to alcohol and law suits and the three brothers either abandon the family or try to find a method of gaining vengeance for their sister This particular excerpt describes a scene by the brook where the youngest Mulvaney Judd is contemplating life and the shortness of it This episode occurs before the family initially fell apart Oates uses several literary techniques such as stream of consciousness the writing perspective of a first person narrative and the method of foreshadowing to indirectly characterize Judd Mulvaney who is the narrator of the manuscript as a mature young man very aware of situations surrounding his life and a person who simply cares for his family Judds thoughts are predominantly known throughout this entire selection and they mostly concern his own death that he feels is impending The stream of consciousness technique becomes evident early on when Judd is by the brook As he gazes into the water he goes over in his mind what he is thinking not just what hes assessing about the brook but also he lets his mind wander to items that he must remember to tell his father and unknowingly the rationality of children As he stares at the moving water his begins to focus his mind on his heartbeat which it the catalyst that leads Judds thought process to focus on his life and eventual death Several times Judd thinks the exact same concept of Every heartbeat past and gone as if each beat brings him and his family nearer to their ends The context seems to reveal that Judd is afraid of death yet he is also aware that there is nothing he can do about it that one
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