“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” Evoked Female Identity

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“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” Evoked Female Identity During the 1960s in America, where phallocentrism is still ruling society, many social problems caused younger people to be unsatisfied with reality and to become rebellious. In Oates’s story, the character of Connie is affected by patriarchal oppression. Oates gives Connie an independent identity while using her mother and sister as opposite characters to reflect her uniqueness and to let the reader understand the female identity. Connie's mother and sister portray typical females under patriarchal oppression. In the case of Connie’s mother, she rejected Connie’s attitudes because it often went against the patriarchal society's code of conduct. For example, when Connie glanced into a mirror, her mother always scolds: “Stop gawking at yourself, who are you? You think you’re so pretty?” (Oates 270). However, her mother treated June differently, by praising June all the time, “June did this, June did that, she saved money and helped clean the house and cooked” (Oates 271). June is another victim of patriarchal oppression just like Connie’s mother, a typical “house wife”. Both the mother’s and sister’s roles fully reflect how women were treated at that time. They were controlled by males, displayed a lack of confidence and did not have their own independent self-consciousness. Oates used Connie’s independent identity and rebellious behaviors to represent women’s dissatisfaction with patriarchy, but had no courage to make a change. When Oates starts the story by introducing Connie without a last name, Oates created a character with a clear independent identity, while at the same time rebelling against the patriarchy. Furthermore, Connie’s family environment oppressed her, which led to her reverse psychology. She disdained her mother and complained to her friend, “She makes me want to throw up
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