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Son of the Morning (novel)

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Country  USA
Publisher  Vanguard Press
ISBN  9780814907931
Author  Joyce Carol Oates
3.5/5 Goodreads

Language  English
Pages  382
OCLC  934025873
Published  1978
Similar  Man Crazy, With Shuddering Fall, Do with Me What You Will, The stolen heart, Lives of the Twins

Son of the morning novel

Son of the Morning is a 1978 novel by American author Joyce Carol Oates. The book was first published on August 1, 1978 through Vanguard Press.



Elsa Vickery, daughter of agnostic small town doctor and his pious wife, is gang-raped at the age of seventeen. Her father cannot obtain legal abortion. The boy Nathan is brought up by his grandmother as a devoted Christian. At the age of seven he begins to experience visions of Christ. When the boy is eight, his grandfather reads the Gospel for the first time in thirty years and is horrified: "The man was a cruel psychopath". Soon after, he dies from a stroke, and the reader must decide for himself whether this was a punishment for blasphemy.

Nathan becomes a boy preacher, then a leader of a church, which is accumulating vast riches from donation. His visions with every year are more and more grandiose. Once he is almost seduced into fornication and puts out his eye in self-punishment for this.

Suddenly he feels that God has forsaken him, and his life is turned into endless suffering. It is left ambiguous whether this is a punishment for pride and lust for power or clinical depression.


Critical reception for Son of the Morning was mixed. Theology Today criticized the narrator's voice as "improbable" and the "obtrusiveness of biblical parallels and symbolic incidents" while also stating "However, the theological and psychological probings in the book are too deep and complex, the reporting of visions and sermons too electric and convincing, the implications too perplexing for post-Jonestown thinking, for Son of the Morning not to be of searching significance for preachers, laypeople, and teachers of literature and theology." In her essay "Faith and Art: Joyce Carol Oates's Son of the Morning", Sharon L. Dean commented that the narrator's shifting voice allowed Nathan to "write both an objective account of his past and the past surrounding him, much as the Biblical prophets wrote about Christ, and a personal, extended prayer to an absent God."


Son of the Morning (novel) Wikipedia

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