Joyce Carol Oates, Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart

Martin Kich (Wright State University)
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Nominated for the National Book Award, this novel focuses on a community in upstate New York over about a decade from the middle of the 1950s through the middle of the 1960s. There are four families who represent the socio-economic and racial groups in the community: an African-American family struggling with the constraints of systemic racism, a lower-class white family who are recent transplants from Appalachia, working-class white residents whose lives seem to have promise but whose personal failings prevent them from achieving any sustained upward mobility, and educated white professionals who enjoy an upper-middle-class level of affluence and contentment.

The African American family is the Fairchilds—Woodrow and Minnie and their two sons, Woodrow, Jr., nicknamed “Sugar Baby”,

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Citation: Kich, Martin. "Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 June 2024 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=12194, accessed 21 June 2024.]

12194 Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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