Joyce Carol Oates

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It is almost disheartening to watch a child’s loss of innocence as it grows into adolescence. To know this is to observe as a child discovers that Santa Claus and the Easter bunny aren’t real, or for a parent to watch as their son or daughter make life changing decisions. Decisions like which colleges to go to, or to decide to marry their high school sweet heart. A teenager’s loss of innocence is the focal point of Joyce Carol Oates short story “Where are you going? Where have you been?” featuring the main protagonist, Connie. Connie is forced to face the ordeal of becoming an adult at the age of fifteen in a matter of minutes. She spurns her parents in an effort to be rebellious, she goes out at night with her friends in search of young boys, and she is confronted with making a life altering decision by the end of the story.

A clear example of the loss of innocence in Oates short story is Connie’s rebellious attitude toward her mother. Connie is constantly scolded for being unorganized and for not being more like her older sister. She is told to act more like a lady and to keep her room clean. But Connie chooses to be herself and to not follow the path her parent’s demand of her. When her family goes out to a barbeque, Connie refuses and chooses to stay home and sun bathe. As her parents pull out of their drive way, Connie can see the look of disappointment on her mothers face, but Connie goes right back to sunbathing and listening to the rebellious sounds of rock and roll music. Through Connie’s rebelliousness, Oates’ is trying to convey that adolescent anti-authority outbursts begin at home. Once a teenager reaches a certain age, they begin to think and have feelings of their own independence and ways to express that independence are through rebelling against their parents.

Further exemplifying Oates observations on Connie’s loss of innocence, Connie goes out with her friends to the local shopping plaza to go shopping and see a movie, or so...
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