Joyce Carol Oates, Black Water

Martin Kich (Wright State University)
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This novella, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, has generally been classified as a “nonfiction novel” in the mode of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood (1966) and Norman Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song (1979). Although those novels treat more hardened criminals, their crimes, their trials, and their executions, Oates’s novella treats an “incident” that arguably had a more pronounced and enduring impact of the national consciousness. The novella provides a fictional version of the so-called Chappaquiddick “incident”, in which Senator Ted Kennedy drove a car off a bridge connecting Chappaquiddick Island to Martha’s Vineyard and saved himself as his passenger drowned. That passenger, a 29-year-old woman named Mary Jo Kopechne, and Kennedy had just met…

2306 words

Citation: Kich, Martin. "Black Water". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 May 2024 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=12195, accessed 21 June 2024.]

12195 Black Water 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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