The story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” by Joyce Carol Oates, is a one where the idea of how girl who struggles with wanting to be a mature woman, faces her demon full form. The protagonist of the story is Connie, a 15-year-old rebel girl, obsessed with her look; and through fault of her own, meets the antithesis of herself, the antagonist of the story, Arnold Friend. Connie seeks to be a mature adult and desires an emancipation from her family. Seeing herself as mature woman through the desires of her attraction by other boys and men, as well as her mother. Its this same desire which acts as the main fault for her character. Consistently presenting a self-absorbed attituded (like a typical teen), while still presenting the want
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. Oates unexpectedly adds allusions to fairy tales throughout the story that suggest a much deeper meaning than the initial realistic interpretation. The use of fairy tales adds a vitally important element to the story that evil can be lurking in unexpected places.
Joyce Oates’s “Hi Howya Doin” depicts the violence that has captured and encapsulated today’s culture. The un-deemed murder of an innocent jogger in the end of this story validates and justifies the fear that so many individuals feel. In Oates’s short story, “Hi Howya Doin”, the protagonist is depicted as a “Good-looking husky guy six-foot-four in the late twenties or early thirties, Caucasian male…..solid built as a fire hydrant, carries himself like an athlete, or an ex-athlete” (214). Through the police report, giving the description of the protagonist, Oates foretells his surprising fate at the beginning of the story which in turn, creates tension and suspense for the reader as the protagonist goes about what
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.
Connie wants to be desired for her sexuality and Arnold possesses this by his tone throughout the story. His appearance comes
“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.
This interpretation of the story explains how Connie simply fell prey to the common theme of men acting as predators in society. Therefore, Connie had no say in her fate, so she just decided to go quietly with him. However, this theory completely disregards the psychological disorders that Connie has. Connie did not go quietly with Arnold because he was a dominating male. Instead, Connie left due to her numerous unconscious mental problems.
In “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” there are many theories as to who Arnold Friend is and what his role. The story does not introduce Arnold till the middle and end of the story when Arnold Friend and Ellie Oscar, his friend, decides to pull up to Connie’s house trying to be gentle, but threatening at the same time. The tone sets the mood of the story, the way he talks is suave, so he doesn’t scare her as much but you could sense a little of annoyance in his voice when she refuses. He asks her to come ride with him, but then starts to threaten her family so she would get out the house and be with him. Many would argue he portrays Satan or Connie’s karma for her misbehavior. Throughout the story, there are references that relates to the bible that relates to the title. Arnold’s friend, Ellie plays the quiet, menacing creep who seems like he is trying to help Connie when he offers to let her
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
Imagine being in a situation where you are constricted, with no means of getting out. Would you want to escape into a world of fantasy and leave the dreadfulness of reality? “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates is a story that explores this idea through the beautiful teenage girl Connie. Arnold Friend, an older man, wishes to take her out on a “date”, but things quickly become out of hand. As Gillis states in “Connie’s Tambourine Man: A New Reading of Arnold Friend”, Arnold presumably “leads his victim… to a quick and violent sexual assault” (Tierce and Crafton 219). Again in “Connie’s Tambourine Man”, it is stated that “Arnold must symbolize Satan and Connie must be raped and murdered” (Tierce and Crafton 219).
At the end of "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” I believe that Connie is a normal girl. Although Connie is illustrated as a self-indulgent and vein teenager I did see anything that stood out in the text with lead me to believe that she was particularly evil. The same goes for her being a good girl she didn’t do anything that I found profoundly good. The fact the Arnold Friend scares Connie into coming with him is a cause for concluding that he is evil. The metaphor that marks the transitions in the lives of the young girls as they reach for their independence is that of retribution they must face from their
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. Throughout the story, there are many instances: the illogical time and settings, the similarity between Arnold and Connie and the unrealistic events show that the meeting between Connie and Arnold Friend is a dream. The dream is also a preparation for Connie before she steps onto the stage of being an adult.
She sees the boys who give her attention as subjugations who “dissolve into a single face that was not even a face but an idea” (Oates 675). But soon enough her dreams and music materialize into the shape of Arnold Friend. Arnold Friend is described as a muscular, older, and mysterious character. He seems to be a work of her imagination as he is ultimately an idea she created that would fit into her perfect fantasy world. Connie is defenseless to Arnold Friend’s manipulations mainly because she has no visible identity of her own. Arnold Friend was there to take Connie away; away from her childhood and home, which never quite felt like home until her fantasy world deteriorated and reality set it. The next moment is pivotal, this is when Connie forgets her hedonism and becomes something of much more substance. Before Connie studies Arnold Friend’s abnormal personality and erratic behavior she is fascinated by him and even worries that she is ill prepared for this
Regardless of the many differences between Myop and Connie they could not be protected from the harsh things in the world. They each left something behind that was so familiar to them. They may have gone through different situations, but they each lost something within
shows the readers that that vanity and lack of self-awareness can make some vulnerable and easily fall for the evilness of the world. Because Connie became vulnerable, she was easily persuaded by Arnold, who was portrayed as the Devil figure and the darkness that exists, to leave her the known safety of her home and to embark on the road to the unclear future. Oates’s story teaches the readers to be cautious of their surroundings and of the people that are unfamiliar to them that live in the same society. That is because even if someone appears to look a certain way they might have a mask that hides the true darkness and evilness that is in their body and