Books and Movies Reviews

Black Water: Voiceless Victims

Voiceless Victims: A Woman in a Man’s World
Carol Oates invites readers to consider an issue many would rather avoid, because Kelly is someone easy to identify with; she could be our daughter, sister, or even ourselves. Kelly, a young, intelligent, woman, in Oates’ novella, Black Water, explores the affect a male dominated society has on the upbringing, life, and eventually, the death of the woman.She is not only the physical victim, but also a victim of social attitudes and perpetuated gender scripts.Kelly is the product of a misogynistic world that not only leads to her death, but, also, to her ambiguity as a person.Kelly represents all the women who are overshadowed and led by the men they admire down paths that result to their demise.
Based on a true story of Mary Jo Kopechne, Kelly represents a woman of obscurity.By this I mean her name and life are never brought out accurately or long enough for the public to have a collective sense of who she was; her name was never a household word.Her name is eventually forgotten, and her life was never known.Newspapers mentioned her name here and there, deeming her an “unworldly” and “unsophisticated” woman.The reader does not learn anything of who and what she was; she was just another pretty face. Kelly’s voice is one for all the female victims that have been obscured by the men who victimize them.Oates attributes this book entirely to those women like Mary Jo Kopechne, who died and were known only as a victim.
The author uses a variety of techniques to emphasize the importance of these woman’s lives.Oates leaves the men in Kelly’s life unnamed in order not to overshadow Kelly.She stresses Kelly’s beliefs and attitude towards life and death with italics and repetition; reminding the reader each time this is a real person who can feel extreme angst and fear. Her positions on issues, like, the death penalty and abortion. Kelly silently screams her things that she…


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