What Is Symbolism In Where Are You Going Where Have You Been

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In “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been,” the protagonist, Connie, fails to resist temptation of her secret sexual desire. Throughout the story Connie wants to develop her sexual curiosities. Her inability to look past her beauty, her family life, and her sexual curiosities ultimately contributes to her final decision and tragic end, epitomizing both Structuralism and Phenomenology criticism theory. The story opens with Oates introducing the protagonist, Connie who is, “fifteen and [has a] quick nervous giggling habit of craning her neck to glance into mirrors, of checking other people’s faces to make sure her own was all right (347).” From the start Connie was stuck on her own appearance. Her obsession with her beauty is not unusual for a fifteen – year old girl, she is only acting upon the culture in which she lives in. However, this doesn’t discount the fact that Connie is vain and she let her beauty feed her egoism. Throughout the story Connie is conscious of her beauty, but she is unconscious that her beauty would lead her to her interaction with Arnold Friend. …show more content…
This idea was heavily influenced by the purity culture that make women believe that being sexual is bad and that they should be nonsexual and should present an image of modesty in the outside world. Women are made to believe that they can’t be sexual beings in the way that men are; exemplifies not only structuralism, but phenomenology as well. Structuralism criticism support this example in that Connie and her sister June are binary opposite, like in the famous tale of Cinderella, Cinderella is the representation of “good,” while her sisters are the representation of “evil,” Cinderella is pretty, but her step sisters are ugly. Phenomenology criticism can also be applied to this idea because society view women in a certain way in which they do not men because it is a part of the culture that makes women bad for being

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