Silkie Sees Joan

The story "Silkie" by Joyce Carol Oates is a story that is set for today. It is the typical story of a

female having unprotected sex with a male. The male then wants no part of this child, and sends the female

off to send for herself. Usually the female must raise the child herself. This is not true in Silkie's case. She

winds up living happily with the man of her dreams.

Silkie realizes that she will have a place to live and a husband to take care of her child. When she

comes home after talking with Nathan she tells her mother that, "it's all settled."

Another reason why "Silkie" is a happy story is because Joan finally realizes that she can no

longer be Silkie. She can not play this charade any more. Joan is getting older and learns the Silkie was a

fantasy which she overplayed. "I rest my hand on top of his, like a woman in a movie . . ." Joan realizes

that she is doing things that are not part of reality. She is living in a movie world but is trying to change

herself for the better.

"I shrug my shoulders again in a way I must have picked up from someone. It isn't a habit I like."

Joan realized that she does not even like this Silkie person that she has become. She has picked up bad

habits that she does not want but has acquired because of who she pretended to be.

Realizing the errors of your ways is another part of growing up and realizing who you are. " And,

like Mama said, making a hard mouth-mouthed little joke, if I had done some thinking a few weeks back I

wouldn't need to be wearing myself out with it now." Joan realizes that getting pregnant was the

irresponsible thing to do. By searching out Nathan she is trying to take responsibility for her actions. She

does not tell her mother that she is wrong but instead agrees with her.

Once again she realizes that Silkie must die. ". . ., but a real person standing here in flat black

shoes wore over at the heel and a skirt that already felt too tight even if it is my imagination,..." The skirt

that Joan is wearing is something only Silkie would wear. Joan realizes this and this is all part of her

growing up.

Also, Joans big realization is when she looks into the river. When looking into a river your

reflection is usually seen. Joan did not see her reflection but instead saw a dirty creek. She realizes that

she really has led a "dirty" life. She has gone out and gotten pregnant with a man who wants no part of her.

" When we were little kids the river was always exciting . . ." The problem now is that Joan can not be

Silkie the child any longer. Silkie is a dirty woman who can no longer live the way she was living. Silkie

must now transform into Joan.

Lastly, Silkie understands that if she marries Nathan she will not live an extravagant lifestyle. " I

know that I will die in that room, that I will live out my life and die there or in a room just like it

somewhere else or in a rented house with three or for rooms just like it, . . ." Nathan is only a gas station

attendant who does not seem to be going far. She must live a normal everyday life without any "extras" but

does not mind this.

Growing up is not something that is easy to do. Going out into the "real world" can be a

dangerous thing, especially if you do not know what you are getting into. This was the case with Silkie.

Something bad had to happen to her to make her realize that Silkie must leave and Joan must now take

over. Luckily there was a compassionate male in order to ease her trouble, and give her and her child a

place to live.