Joyce Carol Oates

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English 126
29 November 2012
Joyce Carol Oates, The Author of "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” Many critics have found that the possibility of the psychological changes of a teenager is a discussable topic to learn and argue about. Connie, the young teenage girl in the story of “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” faces an unpredictably-dangerous situation that challenges her knowledge of insecurity and adulthood. As a matter of the fact, Connie is molded into the central character of the story and at the same time she functions as a character representing a normal teenager. Any other teenagers in another family could be the next “Connie”, who could get confusion with his or her psychological concern. There are several factors discussed below, arguing to be contributed to Connie’s psychological senses and behaviors: To begin with, the uncommunicative issue among Connie’s family results in her rebellious behaviors. In the reading about” Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been,” Connie’s mother shut at her,” Why don’t you keep your room clean that your sister? How’ve you got your hair fixed—what the hell stinks? Hair spray? You don’t see your sister using that junk” (505). According to this quote, it is obvious that Connie is from a traditional-minded family. The mom always compares Connie to her sister, June who has been a good girl in her life: she has a stable job, and is responsible and respectable to her family and society. She believes that a normal child is supposed to follow the arrangements made by his or her parents and obey the social standard, just like Connie’s sister does. Feeling her expectation cannot be reached because of Connie’s disobedience, her mom begins to blame on Connie harder and harder. Connie said to her friend: “She makes me want to throw up sometimes” (505.) Evidently, she cannot relate well with her “nagging mom” and her “perfect sister”. Moreover, it is written in the reading that” Their father was away at work most of the time…after supper he went to bed.” This shows that the disability of communicating is certainly a difficulty existing among her family. Unlike her sister, Connie is frustrated about her family and unwilling to be compromised by her family and the society. She becomes rebellious and attempts to escape the constrained environment by in constant conflicting with her family. She loves getting boy’s attention; she dresses up beautifully in order to flirt with boys; she listens to music, hangs out with her friends, and explores her sexuality. Moreover, in the reading of the story, it is said that Connie finds herself enjoy day-dreaming. One of the day dreams she has is, “All the boys fell back and dissolved into a single face that was not even a face but an idea, a feeling, mixed up with the urgent insistent pounding of the music and the humid night air of July” (506). By reading this quote, it is clear that Connie has a concept of what-is-called-love from her imagery. Moreover, Tom Quirk states that “Connie is a typical teenager in search of her identity and her search to find herself.” In her mind, the only thing she cares about is to meet the ideal boy, who would also take her away, escaping from the family. However, they are emerged from her imagination. On the contrast, Connie’s life is actually dull and boring. She does not care about not only family activities but her own behaviors she has outside of the house; she only pursues a sense of pleasure which can only keep her happy for a moment. Most importantly, she does not know why she is rebellious and what exactly she is against for. It was simply her immature reaction, expressing disobedience after all. In the reading of “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” when the two strangers come to her door, although Connie seems like showing no interests...
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