Character Analysis Of Connie In Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

1258 Words6 Pages

Teenagers are often very reluctant to listen to the advice and teachings of their parents.

Although most young people know nothing about the world, many feel the need to seek a sense of

independence sooner than they should. In some cases when this happens, events occur that allow us to

look back and reconsider our circumstances and choices. Much like the character of Connie in Joyce

Carole Oates short story, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” As a teenager I too sought

out independence at an early age, ignoring advice from my friends and family. The choices I made

ended up costing me time that I am unable to earn back, and effort that should have been placed


Many young adults sometimes feel a disconnect …show more content…

Her mother who is described as

“being pretty once too.” Often scolds Connie for admiring herself in the mirror. She says such things

as, “Stop gawking at yourself, who are you? You think you're so pretty?” Along with tearing Connie

down any chance she gets, her mother is constantly comparing Connie to her older sister, June, who is

twenty four and very plain. In the beginning of the story when the family is being described it is stated

that, “Their father was away at work most of the time […] He didn't bother talking much to them.”

The detached feeling that Connie has with her family ultimately causes her to act out in a way that

draws attention to herself in a negative way.

Connie is relatively carefree at the beginning of the story. She spends her time at home acting

one way and when she goes out with her friends she transforms into another person. In the story it is

stated that “Everything about her had two sides to it, one for home and one for anywhere that was not

home” (Oates, 1141). Some may say that this is normal teenage behavior, however Connie's desire to

look and act older than she is puts her in harms way. One night she and a girl friend go to a …show more content…

It is said that they spend three hours together, “Where they ate hamburgers and drank

Cokes in wax cups […] and then down an alley a mile or so away” (Oates, 1142). In passing Connie

passes an older boy who looks at her and proclaims, “Gonna get you baby” (1142). At the end of the

night, she is then dropped off to meet her friend at the movie theater where an adult comes to pick her

up and drive her home. It is said in the text that Connie “went out several times a week that way, and

the rest of the time Connie spent around the house” (Oates, 1142). Going out in that manner multiple

times a week as a young girl makes Connie an easy target for predators, more specifically Arnold

Friend, who makes good on his promise that he is going to get her. Ultimately, Connie's actions that

she may believe to be normal end up leaving her vulnerable to the manipulation of an older guy,

Arnold Friend. Because of her carefree spirit she lives her life, oblivious to the dangers that surround

her, including this stranger watching her and her family.

I relate to this story because growing up I constantly compared myself to my sister. Beautiful,

and two years older than myself I looked up to her and tried to model myself to be like her. I

Open Document