“Where are you Going, where have you Been” and “Hills Like White Elephants”
In the story, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” by Joyce Carol Oates she talks about a young girl, Connie, who is insecure making herself vulnerable to a man, Arnold Friend. In comparison, the “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway, talks about a man who convinces a woman to have an abortion. Both stories were written decades ago, discussing the way men manipulate women, both symbolizing a deeper meaning throughout the short stories. In both stories, the narrator’s depict a world where women are sacrificed to masculine control.
In society today, people are often too caught up in the way they look and let what other people think of their appearance define who they are. Connie was one of those people, she often checked herself out in the mirror and compared her looks to others. Oates represents the society she Connie is apart of by stating “she knew she was pretty and that was everything.” Connie illustrates that she defines herself based off of others opinions, portraying herself as insecure.
Our writers can help you with any type of essay. For any subjectGet your price
How it works
At the beginning of the story, it is told that Connie has problems with each of her family members. Her mom is constantly criticizing all that she does to the point “Connie wished her mother was dead” (p.3), her sister was someone hard to love since she is constantly being bragged upon, and her uninvolved father who “didn’t bother talking much.” (p.3) Connie was not receiving the love nor attention she deserved at home, so she would go out to places with her friends where she would seek attention from boys for the validation it gave her. She found pleasure in the sense of power she held with the boys she encountered.
In the situation occurring at connie’s house when a random car pulls up, most people who are home alone would instantly think to lock all the doors and try not to be seen doing so, but Connie’s first instinct was to check herself in the mirror to make sure she was presentable enough for guests. Connie’s lack of parental involvement created her lack of recognition of danger. She is has not been taught better.
“She cried out, she cried for her mother…”
Connie is so used to having control over the boys she usually encounters, but in this moment she realized that Arnold Friend is more experienced than what she is used to. She couldn’t use her manipulative tricks giving her the power. She cries out for her mother after previously wishing her mother was dead, showing that she is less mature than she thought she was.
Connie was incapable of opposing Arnold Friends seductive inducement.
Throughout the story, Hemingway presents with several different cases that the woman lets the man decide things for her, that she is capable of doing on her own, such as ordering drinks, translating, and even her happiness. The woman wants to make sure he is satisfied with all of her decisions, choosing his happiness over her own.
Often times, women let men have control over them.
The woman is unable to hold a solid opinion, as she at no time insisted she did not want the operation done. The man in the story continuously pushes the woman in hopes of pursuing her to agree with his thoughts when clearly she is showing signs of unwillingness.