Where Are You Going

Topics: Joyce Carol Oates, Symbolism, Short story Pages: 3 (1045 words) Published: March 6, 2013
Where are you going, where have you been?
In the short story “Where Are You going? Where Have You Been?”, by Joyce Carol Oates. The use of the symbolism of Connie’s clothes, her fascination with her beauty, Arnold Friend’s car and Arnold Friend himself help to understand the story’s theme of evil and manipulation. The story, fill with underlying tones of evil. In this short story, Oates write about 15-year-old Connie, the protagonist of the story, a pretty girl who is a little too into her own attractiveness, which eventually gets her into trouble with a man named Arnold Friend. The story is liberally full with symbolism, from the way Connie dresses to the shoes on Arnold Friend’s feet. In “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?” As i was reading the story, I picked up on some of the symbols very easily, while others needed deeper thought. The subtle hints of symbolism throughout the story create a fascinating tale that draws people in. Connie finally surrender to Arnold Friend at the end of the story, it then becomes obvious that he represents the devil and the symbolism of her clothing and Arnold’s car all tie together to create a better understanding of the story.

Connie’s clothes and infatuation with her own beauty symbolize her lack of maturity or knowing her true self, which in the end enables her to be manipulated by Arnold Friend. Connie was in love with her own beauty. In the beginning of the story Oates states that Connie “knew she was pretty and that was everything” (323). This captivation with herself along with the constant looking in the mirrors and thinking her mother was only pestering her all the time because her mother’s own good looks were long gone by now (323) shows a sign of immaturity because she believes everything revolves around whether or not someone is beautiful. Connie had two sides to her, which is most personified in her clothing and the way she makes it look one way at home and a different way when she is out (324)....
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