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Criticisms of Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? By Joyce Oates

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A short story by Joyce Carol Oates called “Where are you going, where have you been?” reflects the writer’s point of view of the way society looked to women in the sixties. The story takes place in the 1960’s when almost everything reached a turning point at that time. It talks about a teenager who wanted boys’ attention, but she ended up leaving her family house with a stranger. Connie represented most teenage girls, and their destiny at that time. The story can be looked at from many different points of view such as feminist, social, psychological and historical (Purdue (OWL)). The time this story had taken place is what makes it important. The story was written when the feminist movement was established, and the American society traditions have turned 180 degrees.
The first thing that pops into readers mind when reading the story is that it was written from a 1960’s woman perspective (Showalter page 15). Oates starts to describe the females of the family, and how boring is their life. she tells about June, Connie’s older sister, who was 24 years old and lived at her parents’ house. She worked at Connie’s high school. Many answers would be given for the question why she lived in her parents’ house even though she is old enough to move

out (Kurkowski 29). One answer may be because unmarried girls were not allowed to move out regardless of reaching the adulthood. Parents at that time lived the American Dream of “hearth and home and innocent youth” (Quirk 88). They wanted their kids to live it too. Another one can be that women were not paid enough salary like men were paid to help them support themselves. Both answers shows feminism at that time. When it comes to economic situations and salaries, women were not on the same le...


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...lcome to the Purdue OWL." Feminist Criticism. Purdue (OWL), 21 Apr. 2010. Web. 17 Apr. 2014.
Paris, Bernard. “Mimetic Criticism: Reality as Context.” Contexts for Criticism. Ed. Donald Keesey. Mountain View: Mayfield Publishing C, 1987. 226-34.
Schulz, Gretchen, and R.J. R. Rockwood. "In Fairyland, without a Map: Connie's Exploration Inward in Joyce Carol Oates's "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"" 1980. Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. 6th ed. N.p.: Harcourt College, 2007. 155-67. Print.
Urbanski, Marie Mitchell Olesen. "Existential Allegory: Joyce Carol Oates's 'Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'." Studies In Short Fiction 15.2 (1978): 200. Academic Search Complete. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.
“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been”, Short Stories for Students. Joyce Carol Oates. Vol. 1. Detroit : Gale, 1966. P. 257 - 276 Print



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