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.
In “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates, a boastful teenager lacks the knowledge of who a lady is. The knowledge Connie receives, brought upon by Arnold Friend, on that peculiar July afternoon must seem bittersweet. Connie is a young teenage girl hoping to find out who she is as a woman. She spends an obsessive amount of time observing herself in the mirror. Little does she know, the mirror won’t give Connie the key to becoming a lady.
“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.
The ego is a fragile model of the personality that can be easily thrown out of equilibrium: “This place you are now… is nothing but a cardboard box I can knock down anytime. You know that and always did know it” (9). In conclusion, Joyce Carol Oates depicts the superego, ego, and id in her short story: “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?”
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.
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, 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.
Teenage girl’s desires to be beautiful and desired, feminism, and adolescent sexuality are a few of the issues Connie, along with others, faced during this time period (and some can argue today). Connie was responsible for her actions (obviously) but it only partially to blame for what happened to her. If she had never left her friend to go sit in some random guy’s car, maybe Arnold Friend would’ve never seen her, or had taken a liking to her. I’m not stating that what happened with Arnold Friend was her fault, he’s the pedophile that should’ve known better and not threatened her, but it could have been prevented if she had never ditched her
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.
As the wise philosopher Albert Camus once said: “The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding” ("Albert Camus."). In the captivating short story Where Are You Going, Where Are you Been? Joyce Carol Oates is trying to show the readers that beauty and vanity can be sometimes harmful. Bored and tired of being ordinary, and still being treated as a child, the main character engaged in a rebellion that think will make her look older, more like an adult. The author also shows the readers how Connie’s obsession with her beauty, her dreaminess and carelessness of the world made her more ignorant and lack awareness.
He tries to seduce and persuade her to go with him for a ride similar to how the Devil lured Eve with a shiny and mysterious apple. Oates displays evidence of biblical allusions regarding Arnold Friend’s appearance and persona in the story by depicting his physical characteristics, his supernatural knowledge, and his demeanor as an image of evil. Connie wants to be desired for her sexuality and Arnold possesses this by his tone throughout the story. His appearance comes
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.
Joyce Carol Oates uses physical characterization to foreshadow early on what truly is going to happen to Connie. Arnold is hiding things about his physical appearance. No matter what Connie says or does, Arnold keeps talking, and yet he reveals nothing about himself. He never physically asks Connie to join him, but his words have the same force and pull as the actions he only threatens to take. "Soon
She managed to grasp attention; but is this the kind of attention she wanted? Maybe she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. In this essay, I am going to explain why Connie looking for attention in all the wrong places landed her in such a sticky situation. There’s no doubt that Connie is a very beautiful individual, although it is unseen it is well defined by Oates in her short story. Connie is self-engulfed and loves the way she looks.
We had already acquired the habit of doubting ourselves as well as the place we came from” (pg 96). Although all four sisters were beautiful individuals, America’s perception of “beauty” caused self doubt in the young girls. They were too busy trying to look like something they were not to enjoy their true