Several times in the past, men are recognized as the stronger sex, who is in control and domain unlike women. Usually, women being the weaker sex and sensible yields to situations imposed by man. In the stories In “Where are You Going, Where Have You Been? ” by Joyce Carol Oates and in “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway male characters are portrayed as cunning and subtle when talking with them, and thus take control of women. Arnold Friend and the American are manipulating women at different situations. However, they handled differently the situation of exerting power over women.
Arnold and the American both emotionally and sentimentally hurt women self-esteem by getting down to the ground, make them feel guilty. When self esteem is low, another person can do what they want with you because you stop thinking about yourself and you might do whatever it takes to please them. At the end, men force the girls to do things that they really do not want and do not like at all. Arnold has 30 years old, but appears to be an 18 year old. He seems a good person at first glance. He only wants to satisfy his sexual needs. He stalks and investigates everything about the victim’s lives.
As an illustration, during his overnight stay in a drive-in restaurant, he saw Connie, a teenager who used to walk around. Unluckily, he chooses her and said:”Gonna get you, baby “(510). On the other hand, the American is a young man who is sitting in a train station drinking beer with his girlfriend. On the meantime, he is talking to Jig the abortion process. He doesn’t feel prepared or ready to deal with it, so he is trying to evade the huge responsibility, of bringing a child into the world. Arnold is a dangerous person; he is kind of a psycho.
He seem so smooth and nice but he’s just playing a poker face with Connie . Connie is not that stupid and realize Arnold has not good intentions. So, he ends up threatening her in order to achieve what he wanted. He takes advantage that Connie is younger and innocent. He is an older person, but lacks maturity and ethics. The American appears to be more normal or at least less crazy, but he also has his ways of manipulating his girlfriend. Instead of damaging her emotionally, he uses inverse psychology in order to convince her to do what he wants to.
Likewise is effective. When Arnold came to Connie’s house, he began a large speech probably to amaze and attract her, to convince her he was a good prospect. He insisted in just a ride in his car. She was surprised of how could Arnold know a lot of personal information about her, in other words, he knew all of her life. But one way or another he came convinced to get what he wanted. He said to her that if she was not going with him for a ride, he would hurt her family. Therefore, Connie full of fear and with no more options, agreed, she went with him.
On the contrary, the American applied other forms as to convince his girlfriend to accept abortion. He said things such as ”If you do not want to you do not have to I would not have you do if you do not want to. But I know it’s perfectly simple” and ‘‘I do not want you to do if you feel it That Way’’ (146). As well as, he kept talking; she felt guiltier and only wanted him to shut up. However, she did not care about herself; she wanted their relationship back to normal, because he was her only happiness. Finally, he convinced her to do the abortion.
Actually, these two stories are sad because at the end of both, the two women gave them what they wanted. These narratives show us that often this occurs for two reasons: fear and insecurity about your-self. Also, the desire of feeling loved and accepted or in extreme cases being threatened are the main factors for manipulation to occur. On many times, we feel that there is no other way out and we just end up doing. After all said, this is how men take advantage, using any of the main sources of power control: reverse psychology or threatening.