Where Are You Going Where Have You Been Feminist Analysis Essay

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Critical Lenses While the feminist lens explores the victimization of women as a result of the predatory behavior of men, Joyce Oates’s “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” can be read as an allegory. Ostensibly, the feminist lens seems like a perfect fit for the story; Connie chooses to leave with Arnold Friend, demonstrating her individuality as a woman by leaving the protection of her parents. However, when one realizes that Connie decided to leave her home only to be forced to live under the expectations of a controlling man, a contradiction to the feminist lens unfolds. Connie is a woman making her own choices that she will live with; Connie is persuaded, despite her own judgment, to give into a dominating man. Connie’s choice to…show more content…
Although Connie recognizes that she should not leave her family, especially with a boy she barely knows, she is urged to join Arnold by her desire for male attention. Similar to the enticing abilities of the Devil, Friend is able to persuade Connie to do something that she knows she should not do. Arnold’s devil-like nature is revealed through his comforting and connective conversation with Connie that turns into a series of threats in order to get what he wants. Arnold takes advantage of Connie’s superficiality, manipulating her to the point where she is unable to resist his menacing force. When Arnold asks her, "What else is there for a girl like you but to be sweet and pretty and give in?" Connie can only comply with Arnold’s requests (12). Connie tries to avoid stepping outside her door; she even makes up excuses of why she cannot get into Arnold’s car. She tells Arnold that she has “things to do,” but Arnold pushes her to do whatever he needs her to do (4). When Arnold speaks, Connie listens to his coercing demands. Even when Connie has the phone in her hand to call the police, she could not find the power to do so. Friend instructed Connie to pick the phone up and “put it back right,” so she did

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