Serial killings are not a strange thing in most countries of the world. Various books of history, Internet sites, and old newspaper articles tell of the gruesome details of the murders of people who were unfortunate enough to be the victims of psychopathic murderers. This could have been the inspiration behind ‘Where are you going, where have you been?’ written by Joyce Carol Oates in 1966. The short story is about a beautiful teenage girl named Connie. Just like many teenage girls she is always fighting with her mother who is portrayed as being jealous of her daughter’s beauty. Her mother has taken to comparing Connie with her other sister who is called June who Connie considers boring. Connie goes out often with her other teenage friends where they meet boys and go to movies. It is on one of those occasions that she spots Arnold Friend who is handsome. Arnold notices Connie while on her way to the movies with another boy and for a moment he mesmerizes her. However, this changes when Arnold together with a friend show up at Connie’s home while her parents are away. She realizes there is more to Arnold than meets the eye and that her life and that of her family could be in danger. An article written in an issue of life magazine in 1966 …show more content…
It’s only after Connie realized that Arnold knew everything about her, yet she did not know him, that she started paying more attention and realized that Arnold and his friend were older than they looked and she began getting scared. When Connie refuses to go with him and asks them to leave, the other side of Arnold; the cruel and cold one is brought out, thou he tries to hide it behind his laughter, it is still visible and this is disturbing. By now Arnold’s persuasion has failed, and that’s when he resorts to threatening Connie, threatening to break down the glass door, or burn down the house to force her to come
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The story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” was written by Joyce Carol Oates, published in 1966. In this short story, we are introduced to a 15 year old girl Connie. She is described to be very conceited, and she is always obsessing over her physical appearance. Her family life is perceived as very dysfunctional. Her mother is always comparing her to her older sister June, and Connie’s father is pretty much absent from her life.
Throughout the story, there are many instances: the illogical time and settings, the similarity between Arnold and Connie and the unrealistic events show that the meeting between Connie and Arnold Friend is a dream. The dream is also a preparation for Connie before she steps onto the stage of being an adult. Connie’s dream begins when she refuses to go to her aunt’s house for barbecue party. She stays home, and under the warmness of the sun, she begins her day dreaming about love and the boy she has met the night before. In the beginning, the author writes “Connie sat with her eyes closed in the sun…”
He mysteriously knows where Connie lives and invites himself to drive over to her house. Arnold assumes Connie’s friendship by convincing her that he knows everything and everybody, “I know your name and all about you” (Oates 201) when she never told him her name in the first place. He knew her friends, their names as well as what she did the night before. He also knew exactly where Connie’s family was, at a BBQ at Connie’s aunt Tille’s.
In the coming of age story “Where Are You Going Where Have You Been?” Joyce Carol Oates uses symbolism, conflict, and the third person to foreshadow fifteen-year-old Connie’s unfortunate, yet untimely fate. While one may think that the conflict stems from Connie’s promiscuity, it is clear to see her promiscuity is only a result to a much bigger conflict, her mother’s constant nagging and disapproval, alongside the lack of attention from her father. the author paints a vivid picture of what happens when a fifteen-year-old girl such as Connie goes elsewhere to find to find the love, attention, and approval that she lacks at home. All which is vital for her growth and wellbeing as a person.
Instead of realizing the danger that she was in, Connie was focused on what Arnold Friend was wearing and how attractive he was. Connie’s obsession with finding her own sexuality overpowered her gut feeling of danger. In an analysis of “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been”, Barbara Wiedemann discusses how the antagonist Arnold Friend is based upon serial killer Charles Schmid, who murdered several young girls during the 1960s. In the analysis, Wiedemann
Connie uses her attitude and appearance to attract boys. But she is not aware of the reality of the society in which she lives. Connie is living in a fantasy world, but when she gets trapped by Arnold Friend she is put into a scary reality. There
The short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” was written by the author Joyce Carol Oates in 1966. Oates describes her idea for the story after briefly reading an article about the real-life murderer, Charles Schmid, who lured and murdered three teenage girls (Kirszner & Mandell 523). She uses this idea to create the character, Arnold Friend, and his victim, Connie. Connie is a typical teenage girl portrayed as naïve and self-centered. The short story appears realistic, given that the conflict in the story is based off of real events.
Arnold Friend, the antagonist in Joyce Carol Oates’s story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” represents the devil who arrives to bring Connie to the underworld. For example, his unusual appearance implies that he is an inhuman being, unlike what he wants to lead on. As he struggles to walk from his car to the front door, Connie notes that “his whole face was a mask... tanned down to his throat...as if he had..makeup on..but had forgotten about his throat”(5). Arnold Friend covers his demonic features in order to pass as a teenager with the intention of deceiving Connie into leaving with him.
Reluctantly, her parents allow her to stay home alone. A few hours later, a familiar gold jalopy pulls up to her house. The driver announces to Connie that his name is Arnold Friend. His unusual physical appearance, his tone of voice, and what he may symbolize frighten the Connie.
In her short story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?", Joyce Carol Oates utilizes a variety of literary devices to strengthen the story in its entirety. This short story is essentially about a 16-year-old girl named Connie and the conflict between her desire to be mature and her desire to remain an adolescent. Throughout the story, the audience sees this conflict through her words in addition to through her behavior. The audience is also introduced to Arnold Friend, a rather peculiar man, who essentially kidnaps her. This short story by Joyce Carol Oates functions and is additionally meaningful because of her usage of literary devices.
Connie: The Victim To A Demon The “heroine” of the short story Where Are You Going Where Have You Been written by Joyce Carol Oates has been interpreted in many different ways by many different authors across the globe. They all have their own opinions on why Connie had left her home and walked into the arms of Arnold Friend. Larry Rain makes the argument that Connie was a noble heroine that “chooses the side with the devil [to save her family]” (Rain Gale).
Oates’s biography explained her fiction writing as a mixture violence and sexual obsession. The writing style definitely fits the plot point of this story with both of her literary ingredients being present in not only Arnold Friend but in Connie as well. The Protagonist Connie is presented in a very self-centered way. She is obsessed with her looks and often fantasizes about all the boys she meets.
However, this is countered when Connie notes that “he was much older—thirty, maybe more” (315), a fact that frightens her. What Arnold is to Connie is a challenge of her want to be an adult, and a trail of her ability to deal with adult issue. Such as a man who singles her out sexual reason. Her wish to be an adult is something she seeks while passively avoiding it. Her avoidance is marked by day dreams of puppy love romance, like a typical teenager; yet, her attractive flaunt to be mature is presented as if she seeks to be an
“But now her looks were gone and that was why she was always after Connie.” (Oates ). Also, there is another opportunity for friendship within the family, between Connie and her sister, however, that is lost in their rivalry and hostility. “Her sister was so plain and chunky and steady that Connie had to hear her praised all the time – by her mother and her mother's sisters.” ( ).
Arnold Friend was there to take Connie away; away from her childhood and home, which never quite felt like home until her fantasy world deteriorated and reality set it. The next moment is pivotal, this is when Connie forgets her hedonism and becomes something of much more substance. Before Connie studies Arnold Friend’s abnormal personality and erratic behavior she is fascinated by him and even worries that she is ill prepared for this