Tag Archives: A Garden of Earthly Delights

Reading list

Though A Garden of Earthly Delights by Joyce Carol Oates is not a new book (it was first published in 1966), it is new to me. I was a little late jumping on the Oates bandwagon, but I’m glad I did.

A Garden of Earthly Delights, the first book of Oates’ Wonderland Quartet, tells the story of Clara Walpole, the daughter of migrant farmworkers. She is blonde and beautiful, and uses her looks and tenacity to escape her parents’ life and make one of her own. Clara values what she considers her independent spirit, but is almost completely defined by the men in her life.┬áThe book is divided into three parts, “Carleton” (her father), “Lowry” (a lover) and “Swan” (her son). These subtitles suggest that Clara is a secondary character, though the story revolves around her. She would not be able to leave her family in Florida, move to New York or achieve any sort of financial security without male help. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Reading List