300 short stories: story 285

story: “By the River”

author: Joyce Carol Oates

year: 1969

where: Abu Dhabi, Gate Tower I Gym

note: As I approach the 300 short story mark, I have been thinking of doing a top 15 list. Mentally, I have been traveling back to some of my favorite short stories I have read over the last two or three years. This is one of them.

a line:  “He came to her and touched her shoulder as if waking her, and they looked at each other, Helen so terrified by now that she was no longer afraid but only curious with the mute marble-like curiosity of a child, and her father stern and silent until a rush of hatred transformed his face into a mass of wrinkles, the skin mottled red and white.”

theme(s): Fathers and daughters, poverty, American Dream, humiliation

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