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Where are you Going, Where have you Been Analysis Essay

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The short story "Where are you going, where have you been?" by Joyce Carol Oates is full of symbolism that represents elements such as evil and loss of innocence. The symbolism is a crucial part of the story because it helps the reader to read between the lines and see beyond the obvious meanings of things. Some of the important symbols present in this story are Arnold's car, Arnold himself, and the doorway of Connie's family's house.
One important symbol present in the story is Arnold's orange car. I think that it is meant to resemble Cinderella's pumpkin carriage. In Cinderella's fairytale the carriage is what liberates Cinderella from her unhappy family life to the ball where she meets her prince charming, falls in love him, becomes a princess, and in the end lives happily ever after. In this story, rather than whisking Connie away to happiness Arnold is most likely going to take her happiness and her innocence away from her once she agrees to get in the car. It is an old car that has been made to look newer than it really is. And on some level, the car also helps Connie to realize how important her family is to her. Although Connie might see it differently her family life really isn't so bad. She is a somewhat self-centered girl who thinks of herself as better than her mother and sister and attributes their familial problems to them being jealous of her. She doesn't seem to care much about them throughout the story until Arnold comes in his carriage to take her away from it all. Then she realizes how much she cares about them and even agrees to go with him just to keep her family safe from Arnold, who has shown her that he knows exactly what her family is like and even what they are doing in that precise moment.
Another imp...


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...d dresses differently than she does when she is home. She wants attention and affection which unfortunately works a bit too well when Arnold sees her. The doorway goes from being a form of freedom and escape to Connie to being a type of cage keeping her safe from Arnold that she cannot leave if she wants to stay safe and away from Arnold. In the end it does not succeed in keeping her safe for long when she ultimately decides to leave to protect her family from Arnold Friend.
In conclusion, "Where are you going, where have you been?" is full of important symbolism that help to expand the story and subtly helps the reader comprehend the story better. They represent things such as evil, loss of innocence, and the line between freedom and imprisonment. Without these symbols the story would be much less interesting and would have been considerably harder to understand.



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