What Is The Theme Of Where Are You Going Where Have You Been

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In Joyce Carol Oates, “Where are you going, Where have you been,” she attempts and succeeds in warning young women of the dangers of growing up too fast. The short story follows the path of young Connie as she dances the line between reality and fantasy while attempting to grow up quicker than she is prepared to. Oates is able to illustrate the issue of coming of age in modern era especially in more recent generations. Before deeply analyzing the text, it is important to understand the time period in which Oates is writing . During 60’s it was common to see women’s style and attitude changing as they were advocating for their rights to break from the role of the housewife. One of the most noticeable changes from the 60’s was…show more content…
Don’t ignore the past when moving forward. “where are you going,” meaning what is your future and, where have you been?” meaning always be reminded of the past so you do not repeat it. Connie throughout the story constantly shuts out the past and attempts to jump forward blindly much to the dismay of her parents. Connie’s mother in particular coming from a generation of stricter moral values, roughly the 20’s, continuously stresses to Connie not to get too caught up in her appearance and to be a proper young girl, “ ‘Stop gawking at yourself. Who are you? You think you 're so pretty?’ she would say.” (Oates, 1) Another aspect of the title ties into a symbol used when Arnold Friend comes into play. The numbers on his car, 33 19 17, when followed using Mark Robsons method of counting backwards the books of the old testament, judges, and then going to the passage 19:17 “And when he had lifted up his eyes, he saw a wayfaring man in the street of the city: and the old man said, "Whither goest thou? and whence comest thou?" When translated we are left with “Where are you going, where have you been?” That sounds
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