Josephene T.M. Kealey addresses the idea of “knowing” in her essay on Joyce Carol Oates’s Marya: A Life, published in Bearing Witness: Joyce Carol Oates Studies.
“Joyce Carol Oates’s Preface to the Franklin Library 1st Edition of her 1986 novel Marya: A Life is a theoretical reading guide. In her explanations for the possible autobiographical components discernible in her book, Oates challenges readers to question their ability to know a character, to know an author’s intentions, even to know the self. Oates’s ideas about the fluidity of identity and the dangers of claiming “to know” an other or the self are explored in this story.”
I'm a Reference Librarian at the University of San Francisco's Gleeson Library, and I run the Joyce Carol Oates web site, Celestial Timepiece.