In the Region of Ice Essay

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How Oates Resolved the Thematic Issues in, “In the Region of Ice” “In the Region of ice” is a short story that deals with human beings seeking to avoid human contact even when it is begging to be had. Sister Irene lives a life “in the region of ice,” lacking feelings and passion. The introduction of her student, Allen Weinstein, threatens to change all that. “Throughout the story, Sister Irene balances the challenges of maintaining her own ordered world, and exploring the emotional depths of herself and feelings for Weinstein that would threaten her controlled mindset” (Topic: In the Region of Ice). Sister Irene is challenged, yet drawn by Weinstein because he shows all the emotional aspects she strives to remove from her life: impulsiveness, selfishness, unreasonableness, pride, and emotional connections with other human beings. Sister Irene is emotionally cold; she does not believe in any worldly connections, just her, the church, and God. However, now she is sensing “herself being drawn by that student, that Jewish boy, into a relationship she was not ready for.” (368). For Sister Irene, the risk of human connection appears to far outweigh the benefits of this connection. She resolves the conflict between avoiding an emotional relationship, yet wanting it, by choosing to remain “in the region of ice;” and she is calmly resigned to the consequences of that decision. Sister Irene could have have possibly changed the path that Weinstein took ending up in his suicide but she could not bring herself to become emotionally connected with another human. In her convent, she feels safe and comfortable; when she teaches in the classroom, she feels in total control: “once she stood before a classroom she felt herself capable of anything” (362). When Sister Irene is brought into the outside world, she is not in control of her surroundings, and she feels

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