Summary Of The Story 'Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'

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“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” written by Joyce Carol Oates is a story about fifteen year old Connie who’s world is changed after an encounter with a stranger. Connie’s paradigm is transformed during and after this event.
At the beginning of the story, Connie’s worldview is one of vanity, which in turn leads to control. She is only focused on how she looks and how those around her appear as well. Oates writes that Connie “...knew she was pretty and that was everything.” The author describes Connie’s sister through her eyes as “...so plain and chunky and steady…” and also her mother as “...had been pretty once…” Connie will only see the people around her by their appearances and judges them solely on her opinions of their looks. She also holds herself to the highest esteem because of her confidence in her own appearance.
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When Arnold begins her abduction, Connie is unaware of what is happening and still believes that she has power over Arnold. At the beginning of their interaction, Oates writes that Connie is still concerned over her appearance as she is “...wondering how bad she looked,” “...careful to show no interest or pleasure…,” and “She pretended to fidget.” These quotes all show her preoccupation with how she looks to Arnold and that she is flirting with him, her typical response when speaking to a male. Their interaction continues with Connie realizing more and more that she is not in control as much as she believes herself to be. “What? You’re crazy-” and “What do you want?” show that Connie is not the one holding the power any longer/ Arnold plays to her vanity to manipulate her. He tells her that she is “such a pretty girl.” which only reinforces how Connie sees herself. As their interaction goes on, she becomes more and more scared and realizes how truly dire her situation is, and how badly her future is going to play

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