Recovering latent parts of a story: The Buck

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In the short story entitled "The Buck" written by Joyce Carol Oates, we are introduced to two quite interesting characters, namely Melanie Snyder and Wayne "Woody" Kunz. These two characters both struggle with different aspects of their personal lives; in Wayne Kunz's case, he is in constant battle with his manhood, whereas Melanie Snyder has somewhat renounced her femininity. Her very appearance when we first see her in the story is quite strange, because she is seen dressed in her brothers' clothes which mask her feminine side. Both of these characters in this story are representative of many persons today whose identities remain latent for a part or even all of their lives. Some are able to be reconciled to their true selves, but others…show more content…
At this point in the story, it seems as if Melanie Snyder would be released from her "masculine" way of life, and once more claim her stifled femininity. This hope is however short-lived, as we see Melanie clinging to the relics of her brothers', as if she is desperately clinging to their masculinity. When one examines the lives of both Wayne Kunz and Melanie Snyder, it reveals that "the real 'events' by which Oates' characters are motivated lie deep within the protean chaos of [their personalities]" (G. F Waller, page 4). The chaos in this story comes to a climax when both characters come face to face. Wayne has apparently reclaimed his manhood, for he is seen with his bow uplifted and he is in hot pursuit of the buck. At this point, it seems as if while Wayne is in hot pursuit of the buck, his masculinity begins to manifest itself. At this point he is far removed from the silly-looking character who we first met at the beginning of the story. In contrast, Melanie Snyder's appearance still reveals how detached she is from her feminine side. She is "wearing a soiled sheepskin jacket several sizes too large for her, a relic belonging to one of her brothers; her boots are rubberized fishing boots, the castoffs of another, long-deceased brother" (Oates 135). From this description one can deduce that Melanie's femininity is still latent and possibly even

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