Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been

Good Essays
The dramatic irony of “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” conveys the tone of warning about temptation. Connie’s situation is that she does not feel appreciated at home and uses her looks and actions to get attention and appreciation from boys even if it is short-term. She is self-conscious about her looks and is constantly worried about how other people perceive her. Friend’s fantasy is that Connie will willingly go with him and be his “lover” (605) even before he officially met her. The reality of the situation is that she does not want to go with this strange man, but is being forced into it because of her fear, which makes her weak and submissive. Connie is fifteen years old and obviously self-conscious because of the love that she never receives at home. Her whole life revolves around attention from boys since she does not feel loved at home. Her sister June appears to be the favorite in the family, as she receives all of the positive attention. Connie's mother doesn’t speak kindly to Connie or about Connie, and Connie doesn't think well of her mother either. Her father does whatever he can to please Connie but doesn’t seek for a good father-daughter relationship. They never talk about what is happening in their lives and act as if they are only acquaintances. Connie wants to appear older and wiser than she actually is and her head is always full of meaningless daydreams to help her cope. Her promiscuity leads to attraction from boys and older men where she becomes terrified and realizes that she is not as grown up as she thought. Connie comes face to face with the harshreality of being forced into adulthood at the age of fifteen because of the special attention of Arnold Friend. 2 Arnold Friend is a smooth talker and has a great influence on the actions of his victims. His word choice appeals to teenagers as does his clothing. He is a short and stocky guy who stuffs his boots to make him seem taller and wears a leather jacket to look young and

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Powerful Essays

    “Where Are You Going Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol, showcases the inevitable effects of youthful exuberance in a teenage girl. The story is a compelling tale which unveils the vulnerability of Connie, a young teenage girl who could barely substantiate fantasy from reality. She prides herself as a pretty girl who understands the basic principles of life. Her encounter with Arnold Friend reveals her as someone who lacks the mental ability to make meaningful decisions and accurate when necessary. Her desire for attention and frivolities facilitates in subjecting her as a victim of a wicked and complex world. She is obsessed with her beauty; her desire for boys and attention makes her pride herself as a “paragon of beauty”. She finds a great deal of pleasure in sexuality, listening to music and hanging out with friends (boys). Her sense of immaturity and inexperience reflects through her ugly ordeal with Arnold Friend, a young man who is twice her age. He takes advantage of her and inflicts her with profound terror. He succeeds in subjecting her to unbearable pains and agony. His intimidation and humiliation enables Connie’s understanding that “the world is not a bed of roses”; Arnold subjects her to learn her lesson the hard way.…

    • 1331 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Where Are You Going

    • 1045 Words
    • 5 Pages

    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.…

    • 1045 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” is a short story that poses many questions centered around the protagonist, Connie and the antagonist Arnold Friend and his “comrade” Ellie. The fate of Connie at the end of the story is still up for debate after all these years after the story was published in 1966. The main question posed is who actually is Arnold Friend? Is he the devil or something else? The answer may never be fully known but in my opinion I think that Arnold Friend is a figment of Connie’s imagination that is supposed to symbolize Connie’s entrance into womanhood.…

    • 1134 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    “Where are you going, Where have you been” is a famous story that was written by Joyce Carol Oates. In this story, Connie is fifteen years old girl and the main character. She seems to have always lived in her sister’s shadow, June, who was apparently better all-around. Connie seems to be the more attractive of the two due to which she felt that her attractive personality would succumb to pleasure in the arms of a random boy. One day, she decided to stay home as opposed to going to a barbecue with her family. At that time, Arnold Friend, the antagonist in Oates’ story drives up to Connie’s house. Connie is a character that represents the nature of epiphany in literature. Through Connie, we learn how a character can have a highly significant impact on an important work of literature and the person reading the story. Connie’s naïve understanding of the world and her immaturity led to her downfall in “Where are you Going, Where Have You Been?”…

    • 1034 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” written by Joyce Carol Oates was quite interesting. Even though it was fiction, I believe that it could be based on a true story. There are times that young girls get themselves into situations that they feel they cannot escape. This story is a perfect example of why teenage girls should try and avoid being in harm’s way. In this essay I will be describing Connie as she appears in the story and explaining her rationale for submitting to Arnold Friend.…

    • 605 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    In “Where are you going, where have you been”, this story makes me frustrated with the main character Connie. She comes off to me as an immature little girl who wants to live the life of a mature woman, but when faced with reality she is still just a little girl. I felt Connie feels the need to rebel or act a different person when she leaves her house and in a sense lives a double life and has two personalities. In the story the author writes, “She wore a pull-over jersey blouse that looked one way when she was at home and another way when she was away from home” (Oates 325). This was an example of how Connie lived this double life. Connie made herself very vulnerable when she goes out with Eddie and exposes herself as a “woman” when she is not.…

    • 530 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    In "Where are you going, Where have you been?", Connie starts out as most teenage girls seemingly would - she wants to be more daring, to appear older, to experience more of the world. She sneaks away from childish pursuits, to the teenage or adult world, to drink and kiss boys rather than shop for school clothes, to see movies in a steamy car instead of in a theater. She talks of being beautiful as if it were her only good grace - beauty, to her, is the ultimate goal. She wants to be older, and more beautiful, and this is her downfall. Her foolishness, and her naivety is what appeals to Arnold Friend in the first place. Arnold Friend, a stranger, appeals to her early on in the story. He is older, more powerful, and smarter. She is frightened, of course, but intrigued, and it is her yearning for the adult world, and the adult life, that, in the end, causes her downfall. She is suckered in by the convincing conman who uses his words to appeal to her weaknesses. She is tricked into being what Arnold wants her to be by his smooth words and his façade of confidence. She's toyed with, played for the naïve fool she is, who is far too young for the world she wants to be a part of. Only at the very end of the story does she begin to realize what she has gotten herself…

    • 1027 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Music is one of the symbols mentioned in this story. The author mentions the music played in everywhere in the story. The author says that "The Music was always in the background". The music comes from restaurants, homes and cars. Music symbolizes the feeling and the emotions of the characters. For example, music for Connie is a pattern for romantic relationship. When she is happy, she hears music in everywhere. On the other hand, when she is sad, she couldn't hear the music at this distance. The music in this story provides a lot of component such as the effects of popular cultures, the romantic relationships, and the psychological manipulation.…

    • 521 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Where are you going? Where have you been? Is an all in all interesting piece. However, despite it's in depth detail and descriptions I, as the reader, am still left with a lot of questions.…

    • 484 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    In "Where are You Going, Where Have you Been?" Joyce Carol Oates uses an allegorical figure of evil to illustrate the theme of temptation. Oates alludes to hell through the character Arnold Friend, as the devil, and his victim Connie, who invites him in by committing one of the devil's favorites sins: vanity.…

    • 853 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Connie is a young fifteen year old who cares about her sexual drive that men have toward her. “The 1960s unleashed the so called sexual revolution. It seemed more a source of comic relief and tragic nostalgic recirculation than political inspiration…” This revolution consisted of women demanding their own rights so they could become more and more independent. There were significant shifts in social attitudes, behaviors, and institutional regulations at the beginning of the 60’s and also lasted through the 70’s. The sexual drive increased majorly and the amount of women that had sex before marriage also sky rocketed. In Where Are you Going, Where Have You Been, Connie wants sexual attention from men, and that hurts her self-confidence and puts a real strain on her self-esteem. The theme of this story is that younger women going through their sexual maturation have a hard time dealing with the changes of emotions towards the opposite sex. It is about the stage of life when young woman are going through their search for independence.…

    • 1002 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The two short stories “Where are you Going, Where Have You Been?” by Oates and “Castle Nowhere” by Woolson offer a strong basis for comparison and contrast in terms of canonical and non-canonical texts through characterization, genre/tone, setting, themes, and symbolism. While many of the obvious differences reside in concrete categories like setting, genre/tone, and characterization, there are alluring similarities in theme and symbolism that can allow the reader to conclude the canonization of “Where are you Going, Where Have You Been?” is due, in majority, purely to structural literary components.…

    • 907 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    This is a horrifying and haunting story that shows a girl who resulted in an awful situation. She rejects the role of being a daughter, sister, and a nice girl to refine her sexual personality. She has an obsession with her looks, loves to hang out with her friends and flirts with boys older than her. This award directly goes to Connie which is the main character of the book called, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol. Connie is a very attractive, inconsistent, and disobedient person.…

    • 913 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” is a story that represents good and evil. Connie is essentially a symbol for good while Arnold is the evil. This story seems similar to the story of “The Garden of Eden.” Arnold Friend manipulates Connie in the way that the Devil does to Eve in “The Garden of Eden.” As stated above, Arnold persuades Connie to take a ride with him by sweet talking her. He even tries to impress her by telling her that he is a part of her group of friends. He attempts to attract Connie by dressing younger and by listening to the same type of music she does. As Arnold is sweet talking Connie, he begins threatening her. Arnold tells Connie that there is nothing better for her to do than give in to him. Eventually, he starts to threaten…

    • 866 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    In the short story Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? By Joyce Carol Oates, the lifestyle of protagonist Connie is described. Connie was a typical 15-year-old. She was outgoing, fun, and social. She had the worst relationship with her mother and her relationship with her father was not explained because he was not home much. Connie’s main concern was boys; she would do anything to meet up with them. That is not always a good idea because you never know the kind of people you will run into. Because she was not very careful an older guy, Arnold Friend, the antagonist, came into her life. This story transformed into a visual in the movie Smooth Talk by Joyce Chopra. The story and movie differed a little bit and had a lot of similarities. The events that led to the meeting of Arnold Friend were really similar, but the movie had more events that occurred before. The differences among the family were that the dad and June had bigger roles. The roles of the family led to Connie’s decisions. Throughout the rest of this essay I will continue to go in depth with these comparisons and contrasts.…

    • 761 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays