The Theme Of Womanhood In Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

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At what point does a girl become a woman? In “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”, author Joyce Carol Oates tells the story of a relatable girl, named Connie, and her initiation into womanhood. While maturity, independence, and handsome boys attract Connie to the adult world, her perfect dream of adulthood is interrupted by antagonist male forces and an internal conflict between protection and self-reliance. Throughout the short story, Connie attempts to prove that she is a grown woman by rejecting the submissiveness of her sister and exploring her sexuality. However, Connie’s realization of the discrepancies between her fantasies and reality reduces her to fear and helplessness. In her transition towards adulthood, Connie, like many adolescents, searches for independence from childhood by holding a prolonged grudge against her family and reflecting on her adult fantasies. Connie constantly criticizes how “plain and chunky” her sister June is and makes her disdain for how June dresses evident. Furthermore, Connie’s relationship with her mother is strained by her mother 's disapproval of her naive daydreams. Still, the negative interactions and constant frustration with her family only further motivates Connie to …show more content…
Initially, she rejects her family, avoids any likeness to her sister, and uses music. However, as the story progresses, Connie panics without the protection of her parents. Even though she isn’t ready to move on from being a child, she still submits to Arnold’s authority. Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? is an allegory and social commentary on how girls grow up and become part of a society ruled by men. While girls want to be free and make decisions for themselves, the more powerful male-dominated society overpowers

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