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.
The love and romance in the songs she listens to and images of pop culture that go through her head are much more different from the reality of adult sexuality. Although Connie does experiment with her sexual side, such as when she goes into the alley with Eddie, she is fearful of really becoming an adult. Arnold Friend takes her by force into adulthood, but this influential act represents a shift within Connie: the deserting of a childlike fantasy for the realities of being a developed woman. Connie is beginning to realize that she has been vulnerable and weak minded and she does not have anywhere to turn. Oates writes, (“She cried out, she cried for her mother, she felt her breath start jerking back and forth in her lungs as if it were something Arnold Friend was stabbing her with again and again with no tenderness.”)
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.
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.
“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.
Connie uses her attitude and appearance to attract boys. But she is not aware of the reality of the society in which she lives. Connie is living in a fantasy world, but when she gets trapped by Arnold Friend she is put into a scary reality. There
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.
All the Wrong Places I’m sure we’ve all heard about young and beautiful attention seeking girls who eventually end up in sticky situations. There are times where they may not ever get out of the situation but, if they do, they attempt to change their ways. In Joyce Carol Oates’ short story “ Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” , a character named Connie fits right in that category. Connie is very vain and loves attention. Connie’s attention seeking ways lands her in a predicament that she rather not be in.
“At its most basic, every story is an attempt to answer the question What happened?” (Norton 85) One of the most significant elements in a short story is plot. Plot is construct by authors and they rearrange the character’s action in a consequential way to shape our response and interpretation (Norton 85). In "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" by Joyce Carol Oates and "Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin, they use similar plot styles that contributes to the process of maturation for characters in the stories.
In Joyce Carol Oates’s short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” the main protagonist finds herself in a very hostile situation. With an all most fateful encounter with a man known as Arnold Friend. Forcing her to choose whether to run off with him or taking her by force. This man known as Arnold Friend to the reader comes off as almost a demon. A person who uses many temptations, word play, and threats to take advantage of the young protagonist Connie.
Joyce Carol Oates’s 1966 short story Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been has proven to give rise to many controversial topics. The main antagonist of the story, Arnold Friend, is Oates’s catalyst for these problems, with his character acting as the embodiment of a larger power. Most critics see Friend as a dark entity, often the devil himself. Joyce Wegs claims that “[Arnold] is not simply crazy but a criminal with plans to rape and probably murder Connie” (Wegs n.p.). Marie Urbanski argues that “[Friend’s] features appear … ominous [, as he has] slitted eyes ‘like chips of broken glass’ … ”
Due to Connie’s personality type, she is faced with risky decisions every day; for example, Connie crossed a busy highway only to hang out with older teenagers at a restaurant, where she met boys she liked and one boy, named Arnold Friend, who she did not like (Oates 325). Arnold Friend became Connie’s psychopathic stalker who seemed to know everything about her. To top it all off, Connie’s mother was jealous of her good looks, and would compare her to her older successful sister, June (Oates 323). “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” is an educational read because of how many audiences it can easily relate to and affect. Not only does the short story provide intellect on the dangers of how rapists may go about their routines, but it also shows the reader the life of a broken
In “The Flowers”, Alice Walker explores the woods through the eyes of a little girl named Myop, but she soon realizes the world isn’t as nice as flowers. In “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been”, Joyce Carol Oates follows a young girl named Connie who is focused on others and her own appearance, until she is introduced to the world in a unexpected way. Both Walker and Oates use young girls to show the harsher sides of the world and how their childhood changes to adulthood in different ways. The main thing that Myop and Connie have in common is that they are both females, but their looks and the way the live are totally different.
Smooth Talk is slightly based on Joyce Carol Oates’ story titled “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” but isn’t as straightforward and frankly gruesome. The story focuses on the 1960’s suburbia from a teenagers perspective. “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” focuses on topics relevant in the 1960’s including the Sexual Revolution. Oates’ focuses on major issues and topics such as feminism, sexual freedom, and adolescent sexuality.