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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Getting Out focuses on the identity crisis of one woman, Arlene (who used to be known as Arlie), and it highlights her struggle to integrate her past with her present. Arlie experienced a life of abuse and spent eight years in prison for murder. When she is released from prison, she goes by Arlene, and Arlene struggles against a system that prevents her from healing her fractured self.

A primary theme in Getting Out is the oppression of women. Arlie is sexually taunted by the guards in prison, sexually abused by her father, and sexually victimized by her pimp. Her mother is simply immune to her suffering and thus takes a passive role in her abuse. As a method of self-preservation, Arlie withdraws, and once released from prison, she remains suspicious and guarded. As Arlene struggles to regain the power she felt forced to relinquish early in life, she struggles to free herself in a metaphorical sense. Though she has been freed in a literal sense (from prison), as a female ex-con she feels disempowered by a system that continues to oppress her. Haunted by the past and yearning for a future of contentment, Arlene struggles to come to terms with her emotions and to integrate her past emotions with her present self.

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