Oates's Short Story 'Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?'

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In Joyce Carol Oates’ short story “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?”, symbolism is an extremely vital part of understanding the story’s true meaning. In my opinion, the names of the characters, major and minor, are all important. Some are somewhat subtle and some are begging to be recognized. 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. One can assume that the so-called “trashy daydreams” are about boys, which brings up the next topic. From what the story has told us, we know that Connie has no trouble at all in finding sleazy young men. Connie, it seems, manages to conjure something up inside them. I believe that Connie is desperate for human contact and…show more content…
Connie seems to be very lost and lonely; the perfect target for the devil. In this story, the devil takes form as an attractive man by the name of Arnold Friend. He first spots her while she’s out on a date and he inaudibly tells her “Gonna get you, baby.” Connie tries to act as if she isn’t interested, but she clearly is. Arnold knows that she will be an easy target to corrupt and to pass his evil agenda along to. When Arnold shows up to her house, she fixes her hair; she’s on a date with the devil. Connie can’t help but to succumb to his desires due to her lack of support from her family; her hunger for being needed; and her lust for
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