Where Are You Going?

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Analysis for “Where are You Going, Where Have You Been?” Joyce Carol Oates’ short story is a complete fiction in the sense that it utilizes all its elements without deemphasizing one for the other. Oates uses point of view, setting, conflict, character, and symbol equally well to convey her theme. Oates applies these elements of fiction to give readers a better understanding of the American teenager and to show how a girl is psychologically manipulated by predators. It is evident from the first line that the narrator is using a third person point of view: “Her name was Connie. She was fifteen…” (Oates 51). Although the narrator tells or implies to readers how Connie feels, he or she does not describe how all the other characters think or feel and thus it means that the narrator has a limited perspective. Telling the story from a distant and limited perspective makes the story more interesting since it leaves readers little clue as to how people around Connie would act. This makes readers unable to know what happens next unless they go on reading. If the story was narrated in the first person, the narrative would revolve too closely around Connie so that other characters will fade in the backdrop. A short story is narrated within a certain time and place to make it coherent. Oates’ story is set in the 1960’s, which is implied by the kind of music the teenage characters listen to: “‘Bobby King?’ she said. ‘I listen to him all the time. I think he's great’” (54). Since the dad of Connie’s friend has to drive them to get to where the movies, malls, and restaurants are, it implies that they do not live in the city but they do not live far from it either. Therefore, when their parents are working in an urban town, teenagers are out of the boundaries of parents, and this temporary absence of parents makes the teenagers carefree. This 1960, suburban setting helps in emphasizing the carefree attitude of American teenagers and the social struggles they undergo, which...
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