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

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The main character in the story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” written by Joyce Carol Oates, is a fifteen-year-old girl named Connie. This character appears to be a typical teenager who feels misunderstood by her family. The relationship with her family causes her to live two different lives “Everything about her had two sides to it, one for home and one for anywhere that was not home.” (86) Connie’s dual lifestyle and inability to communicate with her family will eventually lead to her demise.

In this story, Oates describes Connie character as a pretty young girl with “long dark blond hair that drew anyone’s eye to it.” (86) Because Connie led two different lives, she would dress and look different at home, then she would with
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The relationship between the two was so bad that Connie had homicidal and suicidal thoughts, “Connie wished her mother were dead and she herself were dead and it would all be over. “(86) Some of the harassment from the mother seemed to come from jealousy. Oates shares some insight into the mother’s past and says she was pretty at one point in time “but now her looks were gone and that was why she was always after Connie.”(85)

Her relationship with her father wasn’t much better. In fact, Oates tells us that he didn’t give much thought to anyone in the family because “he didn’t bother talking much to them.” (86) He worked a lot and when he came home, he wanted to eat supper, read the paper, and go to bed. Connie’s relationship with her sister, June, was probably the most stable, although it still wasn’t very healthy. Connie had ill feelings toward June because she wasn’t as pretty, worked at the same high school Connie attended, and was favored by her mother.

Due to her poor relationship with her family, Connie did not want to ever be around them. In the story is says that during summer vacation she went out “several times a week” (87) with her friend. Then on what appears to be Connie’s last day alive, she refuses to go to a picnic with her family and ends up meeting Arnold Friend and Ellie Oscar, who eventually will take her
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