Literary Analysis Where Are You Going Where Have You Been

1582 Words7 Pages
The Inelucet Coming of Age
Naive - showing a lack of experience, wisdom and judgement (Google). The short fiction story, “Where are you going, Where have you been” written by Joyce Carol Oates centralizes itself amongst the state of being naive. Connie, a young fifteen year old, consumes her everyday life by dreaming of sacred adulthood, or nonetheless freedom from the hands of her home, her family and her innocence. The story introduces the idea of coming of age through various literary devices. The authors use of these various literary devices, alludes the theme of the story may only be available to those who are open minded to the sublime context. Or in contrast, the theme of the story is free for the readers interpretation of the fictional
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At this age, she is sheltered from the realism that comes along with adulthood, the responsibility, the dangers and the effort. Connie is naive. The term naive coins Connie’s craving of adulthood. The authors use of motif throughout the story drives the theme of the story home. The motif being, despite Connie’s strong desire for adulthood, she has yet to acquire the need for adulthood; Once you take a glimpse at adulthood, you can’t unsee it, you can’t turn back, you can’t just change your mind. Starting right off the bat, Joyce Carol Oates describes Connie as being a fifteen year old with”a quick, nervous habit of craning her neck to glance into mirrors or checking other people’s faces to make sure her own was all alright” (316) bringing attention to the amount of insecurity and need for reassurance immersed within Connie. This statement continues although this time describing her mother as someone who “noticed everything and knew everything and who hadn’t much reason to look at her own face” (316) bringing into comparison the difference between Connie and her mother, a child and a mother, of childhood and of adulthood. From Connie’s perspective her mother is always on her back because of a theory that her family dislikes her. “Why don’t you keep your room clean like your sister? How’ve you got your hair fixed- what the hell stinks? Hairspray? You don’t see your sister using that junk” (317)…show more content…
Like music in a movie, as the action increases, the music increases, we can relate this to the story as well, as Connie begins to become nearer to adulthood, the more clear the music becomes.. The common occurrence of background music occurs frequently throughout the story, which keeps adding integrity to the motif of the story, once you have it, there’s no turning back. In this story, music symbolizes the suspense of adulthood. Jane went out on the town with her friends, “her walk which could be child like and bobbing, or languid enough to make anyone think she was hearing music in her head”(318) bringing to the reader’s attention that Jane wants to be perceived as mature and adult like in this scenario hence the author's addition of music to this scene.“ Her face gleaming with a joy that had nothing to do with Eddie or even this place; it might have been the music”(318). Once again, the author incorporates music into the background of the scene to add to the importance of Connie’s push for maturation and desire for whats on the other side. As the girls got picked up from their nightly adventure and were headed toward home the author states, “she couldn’t hear the music at this distance” (319) giving the implication that once Connie is back under the watch of an elder, she isn’t free to be herself and act as if she is an adult, she is pushed back into her lone shell of childhood. When Connie is
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