Two different worlds as it seems, Arnold and Penelope. But both want something they cannot have. Alexie writes, “ Penelope starts crying, talking about how lonely she is, and how everybody thinks her life is perfect because she’s pretty and smart and popular, but that she’s scared all the time” (108). Despite that Penelope has ‘everything’ she is dismal, and lonely and scared to let it show. Arnold on the other hand has drunk parents, and no money, he doesn’t know what it’s like to be popular, until he meets Penelope and steadily gains popularity.
Her mother is always comparing her to her older sister June, and Connie’s father is pretty much absent from her life. Because the lack of family support and guidance, Connie lies to her parents of her whereabouts, and she sneaks away to local hangouts. While being out, she unfortunately catches the eye of Arnold Friend. This man will erase Connie’s innosense and expose her to how cruel the world can actually be. Many literary
The short story doesn’t give us much background on the characters; so their names tell the rest of their story. First off, Connie, the main character, has a very subtle, and somewhat controversial, hidden meaning. From my perspective, Oates named her Connie due to the fact that she always conjures up something. When she’s at home, she often conjures up conflict concerning her mom and sister. She does not do her chores, unlike her perfect sister, who always does her’s; she gawks at herself in the mirror, much to her mother’s disapproval; and she is filled with “trashy daydreams” that have done wonders to corrupt her mind.
Connie’s relationship with her mother is not one she particularly values. Connie is a pretty girl, and “her mother had been pretty once too”, but she is not so much anymore and almost anything Connie does aggravates her (Oates 369). This rigid relationship pushes Connie further away the older she gets. Everything about Connie has “two sides to it,” her shirt “would look one way at home and one way when she was away from home”, she was not fully herself anywhere she went (370). This act shows the way Connie lacks a sense of self.
Due to being a woman , Esperanza’s mother was not able to complete her education , instead she was forced to stay at home and look after Esperanza and her siblings while her husband provided for them, she strongly resents this ‘“I could have been somebody, you know? My mother says and sighs. She has lived in this city her whole life. She can speak two languages. She can sing an
In Gary Soto’s short story ‘Growing Up,” the main character, Maria, says, “‘I know, I know. You’ve said that a hundred times,’ she snapped.” Maria is acting ungrateful because she doesn’t want to go on vacation with her family and she is arguing with her father about it instead of being grateful for what she has. Being grateful is feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness and being thankful. In the story Maria argues with her father about not wanting to go on vacation with her family and claims that she is old enough to stay home by herself. Maria is trying to grow up too fast and she put her family to the side instead of being grateful.
Carol Joyce Oates’ “Where Are You Going Where Have You Been?” presents how falling into temptation leads to giving up control and innocence. Though her mother is unapproving of her actions, Connie spends her time seeking attention from male strangers. Home alone, Connie is approached by a compelling creature who convinces her to leave her life and join him on his unknown journey. Through disapproving her family, having multiple appearances, listening to music, and her desperation to receive attention from boys, Connie gives up control of herself losing the purity of adolescents and contributing to her detrimental fate. It is imperative that one should not be controlled because of a desire to impress others.
The story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” by Joyce Carol Oates, is a one where the idea of how girl who struggles with wanting to be a mature woman, faces her demon full form. The protagonist of the story is Connie, a 15-year-old rebel girl, obsessed with her look; and through fault of her own, meets the antithesis of herself, the antagonist of the story, Arnold Friend. Connie seeks to be a mature adult and desires an emancipation from her family. Seeing herself as mature woman through the desires of her attraction by other boys and men, as well as her mother. Its this same desire which acts as the main fault for her character.
Esperanza thinks of herself as the ugly daughter who nobody comes to visit. Nenny has beautiful eyes and Esperanza thinks that beautiful people like Nenny can talk about leaving home all the time, because they are pretty and have fewer worries. Esperanza does not want to spend all her life waiting for a husband to come and take her away, nor does she want to be like Minerva‘s sister, is kicked out of her home because she has a baby. Despite her looks, Esperanza claims to have a new plan. She will not be one of the red lipped women in the movies who can play with men like toys.
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. First, the overall conflict may not be easy for one to determine at first, but it’s used only to foreshadow the bigger conflict.
First in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?,” the guiding figures are present, but they do not care, which leads to Connie’s death. Connie’s parents did not pay her any attention. Her mom was jealous of her as stated in the short story, “Stop gawking at yourself. Who are you? You think your pretty?” (Oates).
Ever since they had been in California she had been dying to go back home. There was something about the feeling of being alone and having to take care of things herself that felt uncomfortable to her. April on the other hand, was the complete opposite. The simple fact that there was no one there to pick her classes or tell her what to invest was aa wave of relief to her. The girls had always lived under the wing of their silk-stocking parents and they had quite opposing thoughts on it.