Serial escapers ; the fate of the women characters in Joyce Carol Oates's a Bloodsmoor romance : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in English at Massey University
In A Bloodsmoor Romance, Joyce Carol Oates uses a parody of nineteenth-century attitudes to women to expose the misogyny inherent in contemporary American family life and romantic love. The women characters in this novel all escape, with varying success, from the restricted roles allowed to them by their society, and acted out in the Kiddemaster/Zinn family. It is through these escapes that this study approaches Oates's exposure of misogyny. Beginning with an overview of the ways that the women characters are objectified both as members of the family and as the objects of romantic love, and how this distorts and limits them, the discussion moves on to discuss the methods by which the characters perceive their condition. The avenues of escape that they attempt, often trying more than one method, are described, and the relative success of each escape is assessed. The metaphor of a secret passage that each woman character must discover, enter, negotiate and leave underlies this work.