“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been,” is about a teenager named Connie who is trying to come to terms with her transformation from childhood to adulthood. Through this process, Connie attempts to act older than she is an tries to gain the attention of boys. In “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been,” Joyce Oates portrays Connie as obsessed with men to symbolize how one’s obsession and narcissistic attitude can cause danger to seem surreal.
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.
The short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates can be interpreted in a multitude of ways due to its ambiguity. A psychological lens, however, provides the most accurate viewpoint for analyzing the story as it clarifies certain obscure scenes and actions of Connie. One psychological issue of Connie that is easily inferred from the beginning of the story is her insecurity about her looks. Connie constantly worries about the way that she looks and takes any opportunity to do so, “craning her neck to glance into mirrors or checking other people's faces to make sure her own was all right” (1).
Home is where the heart is, but what if home is no longer safe? Joyce Carol Oates explores this concept in her 1966 short story, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been”. On surface level, this story appears to discuss a rebellious young girl named Connie and her confrontation with Arnold Friend, a stalker. The ending leaves the reader to assume that Arnold Friend plans to sexually assault the young girl.
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. Disguising himself is a method he uses to ensure the she won’t immediately turn him down, but would at least consider his advances to get her
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.
In Joyce Carol Oates’s “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”, Connie is a fifteen-year-old girl, who does not necessarily get along with her family. During the week, she often times goes to a shopping plaza with some of her friends. However, they sneak across the highway to go to a popular diner where the older crowd hangs out at. At home, Connie is often times arguing with her family. One day her family is invited to her aunt's barbecue but Connie refuses to go.
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.
On a date, she noticed a guy in a gold convertible. The same guy, Arnold Friend and his friend, Ellie, showed up at her house while her family was gone to a barbeque. Arnold is trying to convince Connie to take a ride with him but Connie is fearful of his intentions. Through manipulation and threats, he finally lured the young girl to leave with him. In “Where are you going, where have you been”, Joyce Carol Oates used inspiration from a song and serial killer to write an incredible short story packed with themes and symbolism.
BEST PARAGRAPH At the beginning of Oates story, Connie is viewed as a young girl with no cares in the world except for the idea of having physical beauty. Joyce Carol Oates wrote that Connie would “look right through her mother” because “she knew she was pretty and that was everything” (323). By including this, Connie is seen as a self-centered girl who only wants people to speak to her if she will make sure they drown her in compliments. She refuses to retaliate to her mother because her mother just doesn’t understand the “hardships” she has to go through to look attractive.
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’s Biblical Allusions In “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”, Joyce Carol Oates tells a story of a young, innocent teenage girl, Connie who enjoys listening to music and begins exploring her sexuality and being with boys “the way it was in the movies and promised in songs” (Oates 198). In fact she catches the attention of Arnold Friend one night while at the mall meeting up with a boy. Not knowing he would appear in her life, Arnold strangely shows up at her house assuming they made plans to get together. His character is seen as the devil.
The short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates is about a teenage girl named Connie who is in the mist of her adolescent rebellion. She wants to prove her maturity to others and herself. In the story, Oates describes that Connie always lets her mind flow freely in between her daydream. She even creates and keeps dreaming about her ideal male figure in her mind to make her happy and satisfied. Oates allows the reader to step into Connie’s “dream world” through the appearance of Arnold Friend.
In Joyce Carole Oates short story,” Where Are You Going, Where Have you Been”, the battle of perception and reality comes into play when Connie ,a young teenage girl tries to portray herself as an adult by using her appearance as well as attitude in order to attract the attentions of older men. This fantasy world of Connie’s is eventually overthrown by Arnold Friend, causing her to snap back into the realization that her sexual fantasies will soon be a reality. This overall theme of sexual reality is reinforced by the different uses of music and character symbolisms of Connie and Arnold
In the story, Arnold came to take Connie away, and she is ultimately powerless to defy him. Oates’s recreation of Bob Dylan is purposeful, and meaningful particularly during the time period in which it takes place. In the 1960s, when Oates wrote “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” a social revolution was happening. American women were stating with confidence about their rights and getting independence from men.