Where Are You Going, Connie?
For the most part of Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where are you going, Where have you been?”, Connie has been portrayed as a rebel of an adolescent. She hates staying home; she belittles her sister, criticizes her mother and is obsessed with the idea of romance and sex. Her attractive appearance as a physical advantage lends haughtiness to her rebellion. With a sister that is plain and a mother who has had her time of beauty, Connie thinks the world is hers for the taking. She is a freedom and a pleasure seeker, which she thinks is an esteemed virtue, and being such she goes to wherever she wants and does whatever she likes. While others may argue that Connie is simply manifesting the typical signs and symptoms of adolescence, the ending of the story points to a more serious condition or demands a graver interpretation. Connie’s entire behavior suggests that she is more than a teenager going through the usual difficulties and doubt of adolescence; what is happening to Connie is the steady erosion of her moral being- an erosion leading to a complete and unalterable moral breakdown.
Before Connie made the decision to succumb completely to a world of immorality, which her obedience to Arnold Friend’s prodding symbolizes, she was already showing signs of moral disintegration. First, there was her arrogance. Inwardly, Connie believes that she is better looking and more sophisticated than her mother and sister. Serving as the transmitter of Connie’s thoughts, the narrator echoes Connie’s beliefs and general attitudes. One of those that Connie believes in was her mother’s jealousy of her. The narrator informs the reader: “Her mother had been pretty once too, if you could believe those old snapshots in the album, but now her looks were gone and that was why she was always after Connie” (209). Apart from her mother, Connie also looks down on the sister. June, the sister, a plainer version of Connie, does not get the praise and acceptance...
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