The Screen Door Symbolism

1495 Words 6 Pages
The Symbolism of the Screen Door
Once someone crosses the redline, there is no way to go back. Peoples actions are not reversible, what is done cannot be undone. In both the short story by Joyce Carol Oates “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” and the movie “Smooth Talk” directed by Joyce Chopra, the screen door is portrayed as a transition and a boundary although sometimes it is interpreted in different ways. If Connie crosses the boundary, it will lead to many bad consequences. When Arnold Friend reaches Connie’s porch, the conflict is between the protagonist Connie and the antagonist Arnold Friend who is trying to lure her out of the house to go for a ride with him. Arnold is taking advantage of her youth and vulnerability. The screen
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The interactions between Arnold and Connie are the same in both the story and the movie up to the point where she moves away from the screen door and say’s she is going to call the police. Connie threatens the antagonist, calling the police made him tense and jumpy. When Connie goes in the house to hide, Arnold opens the screen door, goes in the house and shouts her name. Arnold crosses the boundary between his world and Connie’s world and by doing so; he invades her world in a sense. It’s as if someone is sitting down on a chair, and someone knocks the chair down, when someone knocks the chair down, he is basically pushing you to make you fall, and what Arnold did is he pushed the boundary between the two worlds combining into one. Chopra chose for the antagonist to go in the house and break the boundary because she wants to make the story more realistic. If someone threatens another, you will not sit on the porch waiting for the other person to finish their call with the police, you would go in and intervene. This also made the movie more intense than the short story because the director added actions to make the film more appealing and catchy to the audience which resulted in more drama to the film …show more content…
As stated previously, the screen door is considered a boundary between Connie and Arnold. Arnold stands outside the house with his arms wide open as if he is waiting for Connie to come out and Connie is inside the house. When Connie opens the screen door at the end of the story, she hesitates because “she put out her hand against the screen. She watched herself push the door slowly open” (56). When she opens the door even though she is hesitant, she is acting mature by accepting her fate to go for a ride with Arnold (she will not come back the same after the ride). If Connie keeps the screen door closed and stays inside the house she would still be the same girl, a fearful young innocent teenage girl who is afraid to face her own fate. Being mature also means sacrificing valuable things in life, Arnold Friend implies that he is going to threaten Connie’s family when he tells her that they do not need to get “involved”. Connie sacrifices herself for her family, which shows a kind of maturity. Even though she feels detached to her family, they mean a lot to her since they were the ones who always stood beside her and took care of her. The inside of the house is a safe place for Connie, but she leaves the safe area as a mature (sacrifice-taker) version of herself, a different person. Once she opens the screen door to go for a ride with

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