Explication Essay on the Between 'Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?' and Religion.

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Angel Gonzalez
Prof. Warshauer
English 102
Fall 2010
The Church for Teenagers: Explication Essay

“The restaurant was shaped like a big bottle, though squatter than a real bottle, and on its cap was a revolving figure of a grinning boy who held a hamburger aloft. One night in mid-summer they ran across, breathless with daring, and right away someone leaned out a car window and invited them over, but it was just a boy from high school they didn’t like. It made them feel good to be able to ignore him. They went up through the maze of parked and cruising cars to the bright-lit fly-infested restaurant, their faces pleased and expectant as if they were entering a sacred building that loomed out of the night to give them what haven and what blessing they yearned for. They sat at the counter and crossed their legs at the ankles, their thin shoulders rigid with excitement, and listened to the music that made everything so good: the music was always in the background like music at a church serve, it was something to depend on.”

This paragraph in the short-story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”, is a look into how the author Joyce Carol Oates views adolescent values. She parallels religion and religious practices with the main character’s Saturday nights. Oates carefully designed this paragraph to illustrate a social gathering that is on par with a religious gathering.

The opening lines of the paragraph begin with a description of the
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restaurant the main character Connie and her friend are headed to. The restaurant is shaped like a compressed version of a giant bottle. Meaning that there is a standard base, with a rounded triangular roof. Most churches have the standard base with a triangular roof, just more angular. Already an image is being materialized in the reader‘s mind. The next sentence says that there is a revolving figure of a grinning boy who holds a hamburger aloft on top of the restaurant....
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