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date: 14 June 2024

Paley, Gracelocked

Paley, Gracelocked

  • Ellen McGrath SmithEllen McGrath SmithDepartment of Writing and Composition, University of Pittsburgh


This article explores the life and work of writer Grace Paley, whose short stories made their stylistic and thematic marks on the American short fiction genre. Drawing on her multiple identities as an American woman of the World War II generation, a political activist, a lifelong New Yorker, and a Jew born to immigrant parents who had fled oppression in Russia at the turn of the 20th century, Paley’s writing highlights women’s lives and their struggles against established social roles. The article then looks at Paley’s first book, The Little Disturbances of Man: Stories of Women and Men at Love (1959), which established her reputation as a fiction writer. It also considers her subsequent short story collections: Enormous Changes at the Last Minute (1974) and Later the Same Day (1985). In addition to short fiction and essays, Paley has published poetry collections, including Leaning Forward (1985), Begin Again: Collected Poems (2000), and Fidelity (2007).


  • North American Literatures

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