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"Where are you going, Where have you been" by Joyce Carol Oates v...

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"Where are you going, Where have you been" by Joyce Carol Oates vs. the Smooth Talk movie when dealing with minor characters.

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  • April 28, 2003
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The Minor Portion of

"Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been"

The story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been", by Joyce Carol Oates, has been discussed by many critics who try to interpret the story the way the author intended. In Larry Rubin's article, "Oates's 'Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been'," he states that the story is "Connie's scary encounter with Arnold as a dream-vision or "daymare" - one in which Connie's intense desire for total sexual experience runs headlong into her innate fear of such experience" (58). On the other hand, Tom Quirk's article "A Source for 'Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'" talks about how the story is really trying to "suggest how her theme of death of the American Dream may have been prompted by these magazines" being the Life, Time and Newsweek articles about Charles Schmid (413). One other argument about this story came from Christina Marsden Gillis' article "'Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?': Seduction, Space, and a Fictional Mode," where it was stated that the story is "about endings: the end of childhood, the end of innocence. The account of fifteen-year-old Connie's encounter with a mysterious stranger named Arnold Friend, a man who leads his victim not to a promising new world, but, rather, to a violent sexual assault, is a tale of initiation depicted in grotesque relief" (65).

Nevertheless, none of the articles talk about the minor characters in detail that helped to show how this story was about the lose of innocence or the American Dream or anything else. One article that did mention some information about the minor characters is the article "When Characters from the Page Are Made Flesh on the Screen" by Oates herself. The minor characters helped to display the main character, Connie's, development. However, when comparing the book to the movie, Smooth Talk, those minor characters took on some changes. Though some of the changes are small and some are completely different from...