Sophie describes a number of potential futures for herself, and one that she dreams of the most is owning a boutique. The boutique symbolizes everything that Sophie wants for herself in the future: wealth, beauty, independence, respect, and admiration from others. Notably, this is a dream that Sophie likely cannot achieve because she is working class, and it’s a dream that her family and her friend Jansie discourage and even mock, making Sophie feel that her very identity is under threat. The reasons that nobody believes in Sophie’s dream have to do with both class and gender: it’s unlikely that a working class girl who is expected to work in a factory could ever come up with enough money to own a boutique, and, besides, her male family members seem to find this dream frivolous, likely because of the association between fashion and femininity. Therefore, Sophie’s class and gender both contribute to the widespread dismissal of her ambitions. When Sophie tells her family that the football star Danny Casey also dreams of owning a boutique, she seems to be trying to give her own dream legitimacy by associating it with a man that her family respects and admires. However, her family never comes around to giving Sophie the respect and admiration she desires, mocking her imaginative nature and her ambition until the story’s end. Nonetheless, the boutique perfectly pairs Sophie’s desire to be feminine with her boundless ambition, melding these two aspects of herself while everything around her seems intent on destroying them. In this way, Sophie’s dream of the boutique—no matter how unlikely she is to achieve it—sustains her identity and inoculates her from her harsh reality.
The Going Places quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Boutique. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the National Council of Education Research and Training edition of Going Places published in 2014.).
The timeline below shows where the symbol The Boutique appears in Going Places. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...home from school, Sophie informs her friend Jansie that one day she will own a boutique. Skeptical, Jansie tells Sophie that she would need money, but Sophie is undeterred. She says... (full context)
...feels sad when Sophie talks like this, and she asks Sophie to “be sensible,” since shop work isn’t lucrative and Sophie’s father would never allow it. Sophie replies that maybe she... (full context)
...young to play professionally) when Sophie interjects that Danny Casey is going to “buy a shop.” Grimacing, Sophie’s father asks if this is another of her “wild stories,” and Geoff defends... (full context)