Literary Analysis Of Two Texts

1544 words 7 pages
Literary Analysis of Two Texts
Renita Redding
Instructor: Irene Robles-Huerta
ENG 125
March 21, 2015

The short story, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been”, by Joyce Oates, (1966), and the poem, “What it’s Like to Be a Black Girl”, by Patricia Smith, (1991), are both about the coming of age of young girls and the conflicts that they encounter. The two pieces explore issues that most young girls have with their bodies and others during their puberty years. The literary elements that will be compared in this essay is imagery and symbolism. The main conflict in both pieces that will be explored is individual versus self. These literary elements and conflict will help us to explore the issues that these two individual young girls
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There were many emphases to music that was used in the story like this, “the music was always in the background, like music at a church service”. Music was used to describe how Connie was feeling throughout the story. The music was even described during Connie’s adventure to the drive-in restaurant, when she was trying to act grown up, and gain the attention of some older boys.
Another literary technique that is used in the two pieces is symbolism. Symbols are great tools to use in literary works. They convey two meanings the literal meaning of a thing or whatever it stands for. In the poem, “What it’s like to be a Black Girl”, by Smith, (1991), symbolism was used to express an inappropriate sexual encounter. “It’s sweat and Vaseline and bullets”. I think she was describing the pain of being sexually assaulted. The bullets could represent the pain and discomfort of your innocence being loss in such a traumatic manner. The sweat can refer to the turmoil of reliving the encounter over and over again like a reoccurring bad dream.
In contrast, in the short story, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been, by Oates, (1966), the doorway symbolizes Connie’s turmoil of being 15 years old having to make an adult decision. The decision of giving in to Arnold’s sexual advances and walking through the screen door and losing her innocence. Arnold tells her, “And I’ll come inside you where it’s all secret

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