Do With Me What You Will Author:Joyce Carol Oates DO WITH ME WHAT YOU WILL brings to life in Elena Howe the year's most transfixing heroine. A novel with a contemporary setting reflecting today's social upheavals and shifting morality, it is, in the author's words, "a love story that concentrates upon the tension between two American 'pathways': the way of tradition, or Law; and the way of spon... more »taneous emotion--in this case, Love. In the synthesis of these two apparently contradictory forces lies the inevitable transformation of our culture.
"Romantic love is one of our Western religions and must be respected as such; it must be acknowledged as the violent, unstoppable, rather beautiful force it is. But the West is also a culture of Law: American society will never be transformed by stray acts of violence in the streets--it will be transformed only through the courts. And they, in turn, will no be transformed until the men who run them are changed, individual by individual. Ours is still a time of romantic love; the time of a more communal, transcendental love is not yet come. DO WITH ME WHAT YOU WILL suggests such a transformation.
"If what is available to an individual is romantic love, then it must be--it will be--this kind of love that liberates." In the 'freeing' from the enchantment of her 'self,' Elena Howe lives a drama in which, by a continual process, she is raised to a higher aspect of her own being through involvement with a man--a drama of marriage and adultery that constructs an hour-by-hour, thought-by-thought experience both shattering and redemptive.« less