An Analysis Of Joyce Carol Oates 'Where Are You Going Where Have You Been?'

596 Words3 Pages
Where Are You Going Where Have You Been? By Joyce Carol Oates
Psychoanalytic Criticism

Question
How are id, ego and superego represented in “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?” By Joyce Carol Oates?

In Joyce Carol Oates’ short story “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?” the id, ego, and superego are represented by different characters; the ego portrayed by Connie, June being the superego, and Arthur and Ellie represent the id. The author depicts June as being “plain and chunky and steady” and always praised by their mother (Oates 1). She saved money, helped clean the house and cooked, while “Connie couldn't do a thing” (1). June could be explained as the superegos need to do good and live up to moral standards.

Connie
…show more content…
Connie was unable to see the men's true personality until they removed their glasses, which like Connie, a person who has multiple sides. They use similar expressions throughout the story, for example, “Christ” and the use of the word “dope” this further links the two characters personalities. At the end of the story, after Arthur stops Connie from calling the police, she willingly joins the two men. This shows Connie ignoring her superego- calling the police- to succumb to her id (8, 9). Connie once asks, “how come we never saw you before?” to which Arthur replies, “Sure you saw me before… You just don’t remember” these lines also illustrate the tendency for a person to repress their ultimate desires (5). The ego is a fragile model of the personality that can be easily thrown out of equilibrium: “This place you are now… is nothing but a cardboard box I can knock down anytime. You know that and always did know it” (9).

In conclusion, Joyce Carol Oates depicts the superego, ego, and id in her short story: “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?” Through the characters June, Connie, Arthur, and
Open Document