Where Are You Going Where Have You Been Gender Roles

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In “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” by Joyce Carol Oates, both female protagonists are faced with opposing male forces that seek to control, undermine and take advantage of them. However, in the midst of the challenges and subordination they face from these dominant male figures, each protagonists independence is tested as they both strive to overcome these forces. Connie, the protagonist in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” is a 15 year old, narcissistic teenage girl, searching for independence through her sexuality as she enters into the realm of adulthood. “Everything about her had two sides to it, one for home and one for anywhere that was not home,” (Oates, 1).…show more content…
He places her in the nursery of the colonial mansion, despite her requests to be placed otherwise, “I don 't like our room a bit. I wanted one downstairs... but John would not hear of it” (Gilman, 2). The narrator’s husband dictates all aspects of her life to the point where she internalizes her husband 's authority, accepting his dominance over her, “I sometimes fancy that in my condition if I had less opposition and more society and stimulus—but John says the very worst thing I can do is think about my condition, and I confess it always makes me feel bad,” (Gilman, 2). Even though the narrator knows what she needs is to be active surrounded by people instead of cooped up alone in a house out in the countryside, she abruptly stops her train of thought as she remembers John’s instructions to not think about her condition. Connie and the narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper” are both vulnerable and victims of circumstance. The narrator is an accurate representation of the typical treatment of women at the beginning of the 20th century, the confinement and repression she
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