Going Places

Going Places Study Guide

Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on A.R. Barton's Going Places. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

Brief Biography of A.R. Barton

A. R. Barton is a writer living in Zurich, whose work is modern and often explores themes of adolescence.
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Historical Context of Going Places

This story explores Ireland in the 20th century, in a time where gender roles were starting to change due to economic shifts from an agrarian society to an industrialized one. The rise of factory work, as well as the often-times militant protests by Irish suffragettes in the early 1900s, contributed to these shifting expectations for women. Women gained increased autonomy and political power during this time, gaining the right to vote in 1928. However, they quickly faced a sharp backlash of legislation limiting their freedoms, such as the “marriage bar” implemented from 1932 to 1973, which prevented any married woman from employment in the public sector, and a ban on contraceptives from 1935 to 1974. Ireland (and the United Kingdom more broadly) also has an entrenched class hierarchy, making it nearly impossible for individuals of a working or middle-class background to achieve a better life for themselves or their families, which led to waves of emigration.

Other Books Related to Going Places

“Going Places” explores hero-worship and rich inner fantasy life from the perspective of a teenage girl. Other works exploring similar themes are: Steven King’s The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, another coming of age story in which a young girl uses her imagination and idealization of an athlete to survive a harrowing ordeal. Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street is another work which explores a young woman using imagination to cope with the difficulties of working class life. Kathrine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia also shows readers the importance of imagination and creating alternate worlds to make sense of the one characters actually reside in. Diana Wynne Jones’ Howl’s Moving Castle is a fanciful exploration of another young woman expected to lead a life of unhappiness and lack of success who sees something greater for herself.
Key Facts about Going Places
  • Full Title: Going Places
  • When Written: Unknown
  • Where Written: Zurich
  • When Published: Unknown
  • Literary Period: Modern
  • Genre: Young Adult, Coming of Age
  • Setting: Working class Ireland, 20th Century
  • Climax: Sophie realizing her fantasy about Danny Casey will not come true
  • Antagonist: Sophie’s father, the broader society which often destroys the optimistic
  • Point of View: Third Person

Extra Credit for Going Places

Lofty Vocabulary. Sophie’s vocabulary shifts significantly between when she is talking about the reality of her life and when she is fantasizing. For example: in describing her father, she states plainly that “his face and arms were shiny and he smelled of soap,” but she describes the crowd’s reaction to Danny Casey scoring a goal as “sudden thunderous eruption of exultant approbation” Her vocabulary becomes heightened as she imagines this fantasy world, showing a distinct distance between what is true and what she wants to be true.