Analysis Of Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been By Joyce Carol Oates

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“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been,” written by Joyce Carol Oates is an unsettling and incredibly formidable story of a young woman’s loss of innocence during a time of social change, unrest and turbulence. …show more content…
Is this a mere coincidence or the perfect timing of Oates? At this time, there was a reexamination of the traditional balance of power between men and women within the home and workplace. Just when women were challenging their dutiful, “ideal” roles as a mother and a wife, Oates was writing a story that depicts a young teenage girl who is trying to define herself during changing, often violent, turbulent times. It is these changing, turbulent times and their emotional and physical impact on people that appear to shape and frame the writings of Oates. Pamela Miller asserts in her article “Joyce Carol Oates” that Oates often uses violence in her fiction to depict the chaotic, unsettled aspects of twentieth century American life. She further claims that the violent situations in Oates’s fiction often include incidents of rape, incest, murder, or suicide and these violent conflicts drive many of her characters to the edge of madness. Hence, Miller maintains that Oates portrays the reality of the American experience and its complexities. Oates not only entranced her readers with her brilliant writing but also with the manner in which she delved into the subject of a woman’s sexuality and violence during a time of a cultural revolution. Oates successfully merged the day’s headlines with the intense social changes of the 1960s that were gripping America and portrayed them in a way that enveloped the reader. Her personal experiences and observations during the 1960s and the social contexts surrounding those experiences definitely aid in shaping her literary works and this is apparent in this short story. Stories such as “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” continue to affect people even in 2011 because they are not casual occurrences or heartbreaks that occur far away to people we do not know. Times are

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