Where Are You Going Where Have You Been Psychological Analysis

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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). Connie does this because she needs to be reassured that she is in fact pretty. On top of this, Connie acknowledges that her beauty is “everything”(1). This statement implies that if perhaps Connie was not beautiful, she would have nothing. Furthermore, when Arnold Friend pulls up at Connie’s house, her heart begins to pound not because there is a stranger at her door, but because she is “wondering how bad she looked”(2). Even when faced with possible danger,
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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.
Overall, it is clear that Connie has three major psychological issues that caused her to make the decision to leave with Arnold Friend: insecurity, low self-esteem, and fear of relationships. While readers may not know where Arnold is taking Connie, they can infer the psychological problems from where she has been that led her to make the decision that she
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