Man Against Himself

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Man vs. Self is a common conflict in many stories. It is always harder when a characters biggest issues are with themselves rather than another person. There is a sense of defeat knowing that they are the cause of their issues and it is not an easy fix. In the story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been”, Connie is a fifteen year old girl that reflects the characteristics of any teenage girl- deceitful, rebellious, self centered. She is trying to present herself as more mature as she is at the inbetween stages of being a girl and a woman. Connie is struggling with her own perception of herself. If she wasn’t so assured that there was nothing else to her but her appearance, due to her mother’s ridicule and her “better” sister, she might have more confidence and not be lying about where she is or who she is with. Connie adopts a different set of mannerisms around different people. “Everything about her had two sides to it, one for home and one for anywhere that was not home…”.

With her mother, she lies and says she doesn’t hang out with the wild friend her mother is worried about. With her peers she is constantly going to the diner in order to be around older boys Connie is identifying herself based off her looks and comes off as a big flirt until she meets Friend. Being that Connie is always worried about how she looks and who she knows, she is easily influenced by what Arnold Friend tells her due to what she already thinks of herself. She is continually allowing herself to be a victim of Friends manipulation. In the short time he is at her door she is trying to determine what is the best decision for herself. His manipulations and frightening explicit sexual language plays on her ability to make rational decisions, therefore she struggles to come up with an appropriate verdict to stay out of harm’s way.

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In the story “Hills Like White Elephants” Jig’s biggest issue is her struggle of abortion. Her American boyfriend is persistent on her getting rid of the child. Jig wants to have the child and is fighting through her own internal doubts about “the procedure” as well as the Americans beliefs about it. Ultimately, Jig knows no matter what choice she makes her relationship will never go back to normal. The American is much older, dominant and a womanizer. He most likely has made it clear from the beginning that he doesn’t want to get married of have children. He wants to travel and both of those would make that difficult for him. They had talked about having a life together and with him being older, he is trying to manipulate her into doing the operation. They most likely won’t stay together long after the abortion because she has proved to be too much drama for him. But she views this child as something rare and beautiful miracle, just like seeing a white elephant.

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Man Against Himself. (2022, Mar 15). Retrieved from

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