“I found space in my own imagination.” – Joyce Carol Oates”
Joyce Carol Oates was born in Lockport, New York. She grew up on her parents’ farm, outside the town, and went to the same one-room schoolhouse her mother had attended. This rural area of upstate New York, straddling Niagara and Erie Counties, had been hit hard by the Great Depression. The few industries the area enjoyed suffered frequent closures and layoffs. Farm families worked desperately hard to sustain meager subsistence.
But young Joyce enjoyed the natural environment of farm country, and displayed a precocious interest in books and writing. Although her parents had little education, they encouraged her ambitions. When, at age 14, her grandmother gave Joyce her first typewriter, she began consciously preparing herself, “writing novel after novel” throughout high school and college.