Symbolism In 'Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'

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Symbolism is one of the most important properties a story can have. It's often used to develop a character or a theme throughout the story that is being told. Symbolism in literature is best described by as the use of symbols and objects to signify ideas and qualities by giving them a symbolic meanings that are very different from their literal sense. The short stories "Where are you going, Where have you been?" and "The Yellow Wallpaper" have very obvious examples of symbolism. In "The Yellow Wallpaper" the biggest symbol in the story is the room itself. When Gilman writes about the room it sounds like a prison cell. Bars on the window, the bed is nailed to floor, and the fact that the room itself was a former nursery brings up the idea that…show more content…
Where have you been?" there are many different symbols throughout the story much like in "The Yellow Wallpaper". I believe that the repetition of music, the car, and Connie's home all serve as symbolism in the story. The most obvious one of the three is Arnold's Car. The car itself is in direct correlation to who Arnold is as a character in the story. Connie describes it as a "convertible jalopy painted gold." Meaning an old junky car painted gold to disguise what it really was. There are many times when Connie believes he is disguising his own looks. Oates writes, "he had shaggy, shabby black hair that looked crazy as a wig..." and later "He had to bend and adjust his boots. Evidently his feet did not go all the way down; the boots must have been stuffed with something so that he would seem taller." This is symbolism meant to convey that Arnold is not who he says he is, and he should not be trusted. Which the reader finds to be true at the end of the story. To continue with that theme of this time period that women had little to no control over their own lives, her home is meant to serve this purpose. Her home is meant to symbolize her own life. She feels safe inside behind the door, but in all actuality Arnold, a man, can enter at anytime by forcing himself through the door. Which would obviously coincide with the events that followed. A woman until recently had little to no control over their own lives as a result of men being a dominant force in society.…show more content…
Where Have You Been?" are littered with different types of symbolism. Some obvious and some not so much. With that being said in both stories the symbolism is meant to set up the theme of the oppression of women during this broad time period. In both stories by the end both women main characters face the fact that neither one of them are in control of their owns lives and are at the will of men. Both see the difference of fantasy and
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