Review Of Approaching Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? '

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Approaching Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates through a feminist lens significantly contributes to the development of the themes of female vulnerability and the oppressive nature of a patriarchal society. To begin with, Oates portrays the teenage girl protagonist, Connie, as a victim of societal expectations and male objectification. Connie’s mother constantly criticizes her appearance and behaviour, reinforcing the idea that a woman’s worth lies in her conformity to traditional gender roles. This message is particularly delivered as Connie’s mother says, “Why don’t you keep your room clean like your sister? How’ve you got your hair fixed—what the hell stinks? Hair spray? You don’t see your sister using that junk” …show more content…

The emphasis on Connie’s expectations suggests that her appearance and behaviour are constantly scrutinized, allowing for the revelation of the theme of women’s objectification and the pressure to conform to societal ideals. It signifies how patriarchal norms strip women of their individuality and independence, reducing them to objects of the male gaze and societal judgment. By comparing Connie’s behaviour and appearance to that of her sister, it becomes evident that women are constantly being compared and evaluated against each other based on their adherence to traditional gender roles. This also reinforces the notion that a woman’s worth is measured by her ability to meet these expectations, creating a sense of vulnerability and self-doubt. The contrasting expectations placed on Connie and her sister enable Oates to effectively highlight the gender inequality and oppressive nature of patriarchal norms, shedding light on the challenges faced by women in society. Moreover, Arnold Friend’s manipulation and coercion exemplify the power dynamics inherent within patriarchal …show more content…

The description implies that Connie is willing to give up her current life and embrace his offer, displaying the power dynamics at play. This manipulation reflects the larger system of patriarchal control, in which women are often lured into danger by men who promise them a better life but ultimately seek to dominate and exploit them. Through Arnold, Oates is able to illustrate how men can assert dominance and control over women by capitalizing on their vulnerability and manipulating their aspirations. Hence, Arnold’s coercion and manipulation demonstrate the power dynamics within patriarchal control and the risks faced by women who challenge or resist such control, revealing the need for societal change and women’s empowerment. In all, Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? explores the theme of feminism by giving forth to female vulnerability and patriarchal control. The objectification and sexualization of Connie highlight the oppressive nature of a patriarchal society, reinforcing the notion that women exist primarily for the male gaze and

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