Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been

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Culture is an embodiment of a society’s values. The representation of American culture is rapidly changing, showing a plethora of beliefs over the decades. Every change comes with controversy, new radical ideas of the upcoming generation challenging the previous. Once deemed taboos become socially acceptable and ideas once thought absurd are altered to become social norms. For example, when rock and roll debuted in the late nineteen sixties it caused conservative Americans belonging to the fifties to believe the new music of the generation was causing internal decadence. Joyce Carol Oates’ short story, “Where are You Going, Where Have you been” represents this time in American history through the use of a symbolism. The reoccurrence of music and its influence on Connie, the main character in the story, symbolize the demoralization of American society. The beginning of the story introduces Connie’s view on sexuality, showing how traditional ideas of sex have changed. When…show more content…
Mike Tierce points out in his article, “Connie’s Tambourine Man”, the story is dedicated to another artist of the time period, Bob Dylan. Tierce argues in his article that Arnold Friend is a representation of Dylan. Friend compares to Dylan because they both assume the identity of Christ himself. Dylan was known to fans as a “rock-and-roll messiah” and Friend claims his sign is an “X”, which is commonly associated with Christ (Tierce 220). Many people during the time period worshipped rock and roll artists instead of worshipping a divine being. In a study conducted between three separate colleges to observe value trends, the deans observed, “Church attendance dropped sharply from 1952 to 1968-1969” (Hoge and Wittenberg 505). The years that church attendance dropped were the same years that rock and roll artists began to debut, proving a correlation between the music’s influence on
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