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 the clothing clothing. In contrast to previous years the 60’s were more fashion forward in terms of showing off in the 60’s. With style icons such as Jane Fonda, Audrey Hepburn, and Verushka women added fashion as a way to express themselves. (MarieClaire) However, due to the sudden change in culture young girls felt the need to mimic what they saw women of more mature stature doing. The phrase “kids these days” was never more appropriate, this being due to most parents growing up in a time, the 20’s, where skirts never came above the ankle and women stayed, “seen, not heard”. This is where Oates found the need to write a warning for those young girls who were attempting to mimic way beyond their years.
When taking a closer look at the title “Where Are You Going Where Have You Been” one can see the setup for the story and the basic message that is being conveyed. Don’t ignore the past when moving forward. “where are you going,” meaning what is your future and, where have you been?” mea...
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... foreshadows Arnold’s arrival at Connie 's house where he repeats “Gonna get you baby” to Connie, this time however she is aware of the weight of his words.
The theme of rebellion can be seen consistently throughout the story as Connie continuously attempts to state her independence. Oates uses this theme to demonstrate that though it is good to be an independent person, it is also good to stay on a steady course and not rush things that take time, when making cookies you don 't through all the ingredients into a pan you mix them first following the correct steps.
In the short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” Joyce Carol Oates implores young girls to beware the dangers of growing up and take the proper steps before moving forward. Her use of symbolism, themes, and various other devices allows for a successful story in which to serve as a message.
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