Ine Symbolism. Discuss Its Use To Develop Character And/Or Theme In "Where Are You Going,Where Have You Been?" And "The Yellow Wallpaper."

899 words - 4 pages

Bryan AguinagaEnglish 1302.139Essay 1September 13, 2014Symbolism: Representing IdeasWhen writing a story, there are many literary techniques available for a writer to employ in order to get his or her point across. These styles can include anything from metaphors, imagery, metonymy, and symbolism. While all can be effective, when used correctly, symbolism allows an author the opportunity to strengthen his or her work while progressively allowing components of the story to accumulate abstract meaning. Two stories that make great use of this technique are "Where are you going, Where have you been?" and "The Yellow Wallpaper." Both use it to not only tell the story, but to enhance it.In "Where are you going, Where have you been?" one element that is pervasively present is music. The narrator even takes note of this, stating "The music was always in the background, like music in a church service, it was something to depend on" (Oates). For Connie, music is symbolic of her feelings of sex and boys. As she deals with Arnold, everything about him is musical, down to the way he talks. To her, he speaks to her "as if he were reciting the words to a song" (Oates). Joyce Carol Oates is able to use music for a multitude of arcs, such as sexual desire, psychological manipulation, and as representative of popular culture.Another example of symbolism lies within the home in which Connie tries to take refuge from Arnold. In a way, the home is a part of the vulnerability of her body in a male-dominated society. While this might be an interesting theory as the story goes on and Arnold rips at her "vulnerability" it is just like the home in which she is trapped. He is able to break down her walls, and as she leaves the home this is symbolic as she is also leaving herself.The thought of Connie being in a male-dominated society is even more enhanced when you look at the role automobiles have in the story. Oates makes it known that no women involved in Connie's life drive cars. Her friends' father drives the car for the girls to get to town. Her father drives the family to a barbeque. Her boyfriend drives while the two of them are on a date. Lastly, Arnold drives a car to her house. The one time a female driver is mentioned she is titled as a "crazy women driver" (Oates). The story uses the cars as a form of freedom that women are unable to partake in.Of all the symbolism used in "Where are you going, Where have you been?" the one that might be the most important is simply "The...

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