Grasping the idea of sexual assault and rape can be a difficult task. We know of it within our world, but it may not effect us in our own lives. Vulnerability is a more comprehensible feeling. Many girls around the world can relate the constant comparison between themselves and others, their need for attention, and insecurity. In Joyce Carol Oats’ Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?, the main character, Connie, displays these feelings through her subconscious thoughts and mindless actions. Her longing for acknowledgement leads to the extremely unfortunate event, meeting Arnold Friend. Connie’s low self-esteem, constant need for male attention, and lack of judgment force her to be helpless to the manipulative people she attracts.
Connie’s insecurity causes her to constantly desire for male attention. She consistently daydreams about the boys she has been with, “Her mind slipped over onto thoughts of the boy she had been with the night before.”(365) Even as Connie goes through her normal, relaxing day, her mind subconsciously slips to thoughts of boys. This shows her obsession, desiring more from the males with whom she interacts. Connie’s clothing also displays her low self-esteem, when talking about Connie’s two different appearances: “She wore a pullover jersey blouse that looked one way at home and another way when she was away from home.”(362) Connie’s need for male attention causes her to dress in an inappropriate way, that she cannot show at home. She lost all self-respect, allowing herself to dress in a way to fulfill her mind’s desires. Because of the way she dresses, males treat her as they would someone much older, who dresses in the same way. Connie’s low self-esteem causes her to think that being pretty is all that matters, “She knew she was pretty and that was everything.” (361) Connie believes she is pretty and that she is better than anyone else because of that. Her world revolves around boys, and she thinks that