Joyce Carol Oates has achieved many things through her writing, and is recognized worldly for her short story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" This story is centered on a young teenage girl as many of her stories are. Oates as a writer is fascinated with adolescence of young females. She chooses to write about the trials and tribulations of growing up in modern society. She pries on the dark aspects of youth often with plots of rape, murder and abuse. In "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" Joyce Carol Oates writes about a typical teenager who is easily identified with. There are a few major occurrences in this story that many young adults have experienced which include the temptations of evil, a new sexual awareness and learning how to live in a new more mature world and in turn having to overcome weakness.
Written in the nineteen- seventies a new era of sex, drugs and rock and roll, Connie is growing up in a new rebellious young culture. Oates writes about how obsessed Connie is with her appearance, "craning her neck to glance into mirrors, or checking others people's faces to make sure her own was all right". This description makes her out to be vain. One explanation of why Connie is concerned with her appearance would include a new awareness of self consciousness and a need to always look pretty. Being vain is considered a sin by many but however one must always project an image of perfection in that society and even today's society. Connie has to be able to fit in and go out to enjoy her life and if she did not look her best she would not be able to do the things she enjoyed most. Her mother was constantly pressuring her to be more like her older sister. This shows the rebelliousness of new teens in the beginning to this era and how the differences of age and culture can cause conflict. Connie thought secretly that her mother had preferred her to her sister