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.
In her short story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?", Joyce Carol Oates utilizes a variety of literary devices to strengthen the story in its entirety. This short story is essentially about a 16-year-old girl named Connie and the conflict between her desire to be mature and her desire to remain an adolescent. Throughout the story, the audience sees this conflict through her words in addition to through her behavior. The audience is also introduced to Arnold Friend, a rather peculiar man, who essentially kidnaps her. This short story by Joyce Carol Oates functions and is additionally meaningful because of her usage of literary devices.
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.
Oates’s biography explained her fiction writing as a mixture violence and sexual obsession. The writing style definitely fits the plot point of this story with both of her literary ingredients being present in not only Arnold Friend but in Connie as well. The Protagonist Connie is presented in a very self-centered way. She is obsessed with her looks and often fantasizes about all the boys she meets.
“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. In the short story, Carol Oates describes Connie as having two different personalities, one being a narcissistic attitude.
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.
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
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.
In Joyce Carol Oates fictional short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” the majority of the story lies beneath the surface. More specifically than just the story, you realize that there is more to the character Arnold Friend than what may appear. The author has always remained silent and ambiguous about the real meaning of Arnold Friend’s true nature and she leaves room for the readers to make their own interpretation of him. Readers can analyze Arnold Friend and see him as the devil, he could just be the personification of popular music imagined by Connie in a dream, but Arnold Friend could also be the result of drug use.
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).
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.
I believe that in the short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” false perception V.S. reality is seen. The main theme in this short story is the conflict between fantasy and reality. One of the main characters in this short story is Connie. She tries very hard to create an adult persona.
Connie is a fifteen-year-old who is trying to make the best of her life by seeking attention from others. Having the attention, she wants makes her feel superior, and make her feel like no one can tear down her ego. The only one trying to tear down her ego is her mother who wants her to be like her older sister June who is the opposite of Connie. She is mature and even helps the family out. For Connie to be taught a lesson of her conceded qualities, she encounters meet Arnold.
Connie was unable to see the men's true personality until they removed their glasses, which like Connie, a person who has multiple sides. They use similar expressions throughout the story, for example, “Christ” and the use of the word “dope” this further links the two characters personalities. At the end of the story, after Arthur stops Connie from calling the police, she willingly joins the two men. This shows Connie ignoring her superego- calling the police- to succumb to her id (8, 9). Connie once asks, “how come we never saw you before?” to which Arthur replies, “Sure you saw me before… You just don’t remember” these lines also illustrate the tendency for a person to repress their ultimate desires (5).