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

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In the period of American Literature following World War II and into the twenty-first century, the writing often focuses on the disillusionment that characterized the time. American society often experience feelings of disillusionment, and the aftermath of World War II provided plenty of material for American authors. The penned feelings of disillusionment occurred in the family setting, gender roles, racial prejudice situations, and in society’s view of war. First, disillusionment is seen in family relationships in the literature. Anne Tyler’s “Average Waves in Unprotected Waters” describes the emotionally torturous send-off of Arnold from his mother, Bet, who has finally come to terms that she can no longer handle Arnold’s behavior without medical help. The disillusionment of the Maple children in John Updike’s “Separating” stems from the announcement of their parent’s divorce; the divorce brings mixed reactions that range from calm acceptance to mild confusion. One of the most poignant examples of familial disillusionment comes from the 1970 chilling tale entitled “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates. Oates’ story shatters the image of quaint family life and replaces it with the reality of cruel individuals preying on the…show more content…
Betty Friedman’s 1963 piece entitled “The Problem That Has No Name” focuses on the constricting role that a woman is expected to fill regardless of her own “taboo’ aspirations. Friedman’s narrator explains that if a woman is not completely satisfied with being the model domestic figure there must be some sort of defect or problem with her. “The Farmer’s Wife” by Anne Sexton also develops a narrator who believes there must be more to life than the mundane routine she married into. Both of these pieces tie in with the post-war feelings that women can be more than just the perfect

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