Connie's Double Personality

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Connie fits (the category of the girl next door who has a double personality.) Connie grows up in a household where her father works often and hardly ever talks to his daughters, but her mother never stops nagging Connie. (Her mother says, “Stop gawking at yourself. Who are you? You think you’re so pretty?”) (157). Her sister, June, is the goody-goody type who hardly ever gets into trouble and is rather boring and lifeless. Connie is the average teenager who is looking to be loved, since she does not get affection or attention at home. When she goes out with friends, her double personality comes out. She shortens her shirt and ties it in the front to show skin and lets her long hair down her back to draw in the attention of boys. She gets one…show more content…
Since there is little affection toward Connie in her household, she craves it from boys when she goes out to the local drive-in restaurant. Connie’s personality is shown when she leaves her house to go out with her best friend to the drive-in. Oates writes, (“She wore a pull-over jersey blouse that looked one way when she was at home and another way when she was away from home.”) (158). There are always two sides to Connie (when she is at home with her family and when she is out with boys.) She was never nourished or taught to be confident in herself by her parents, so she is only doing what she thinks is best to get attention. Connie’s disagreements with her family and struggles to make herself sexually attractive are part of her search for independence. Connie’s search for this has a brutal outcome though. When Arnold appears and interacts with her he yanks her out of her childhood and places her into an adult world from which no one will rescue her. The night that she encounters Arnold Friend, she meets a boy named Eddie at the drive-in and he asks her to walk to his car with him, so she does. While on the way there she catches a glimpse of him. He’s described as having shaggy black hair, driving a convertible jalopy painted gold. He looks at her and tells her, (“Gonna get you baby”) (159). This is the first time that Arnold Friend is…show more content…
Although Connie works hard to present the look of being a mature woman, experienced with men, her encounter with Arnold reveals that this is only a show. Arnold asks her to go for a ride in his car and Oates writes, (“Connie smirked and let her hair fall loose over one shoulder.”) (161). As the conversation goes on the boy says his name is Arnold Friend. He begins to ask Connie repetitively, “Don’tcha wanta see what’s on the car? Don’tcha wanta go for a ride?” (162). She seems to be more of an adult through her hairstyle, clothing and behavior and gets the attention she craves from boys. The love and romance in the songs she listens to and images of pop culture that go through her head are much more different from the reality of adult sexuality. Although Connie does experiment with her sexual side, such as when she goes into the alley with Eddie, she is fearful of really becoming an adult. Arnold Friend takes her by force into adulthood, but this influential act represents a shift within Connie: the deserting of a childlike fantasy for the realities of being a developed woman. Connie is beginning to realize that she has been vulnerable and weak minded and she does not have anywhere to turn. Oates writes, (“She cried out, she cried for her mother, she felt her breath start jerking back and forth in her lungs as if it were something Arnold Friend was stabbing her with again and again with no tenderness.”) (169). Arnold

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