Theme Of Allegory In Where Are You Going Where Have You Been

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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. Because the lack of family support and guidance, Connie lies to her parents of her whereabouts, and she sneaks away to local hangouts. While being out, she unfortunately catches the eye of Arnold Friend. This man will erase Connie’s innosense and expose her to how cruel the world can actually be. Many literary…show more content…
This literary piece undoubtedly is an allusion to a religious allegory and also a representation of contemporary events.
There are several examples in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” that would relate it to a religious allegory. Arnold Friend is a seemingly mysterious character that possess almost all knowing information about Connie. When Friend arrives at her house, he knows her name without Connie ever mentioning it to which she replies “I never said my name was Connie” (Oates 163). Arnold is also knowledgeable about who Connie associates with, “your best girl friends name is Betty… Betty Shultz and Tony Fitch and Jimmy Pettinger and Nancy Pettinger” (Oates 163-164). Arnold is an omniscient character which resembles the supernatural abilities of the Devil. Aside from his devil like mental construct, Arnold Friend also has physical qualities that are considered demonic. Connie was attracted to his appearance, his “tight faded jeans stuffed into black,
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A lot of literary critics side to one or the other. However it should be recognized as both. All of the hints and clues to Arnold Friend being portrayed as the devil are logical and make sense. Just the same way he is a representation of Charles Schmid is also correct. Joyce Carol Oates is tying in two possible themes, which both work together in harmony. Sanford Pinsker conducted an interview with Oates and asked the question “Do you generally move from shorter units of the imagination to longer ones…?” (Pinsker 241). To which Oates replies, “I begin with an idea, the “idea” of trying to create in words a “religious consciousness” set in a recognizable United States, in the era of Born-Again politicians and other hazards to one 's mental health” (Oates 242). This statement proves completely that “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” is capable and was created to share the two possible
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