Where are you going, Where have you been

Topics: Joyce Carol Oates, Father, Mother, Parent / Pages: 2 (682 words) / Published: Dec 7th, 2014
In her essay, Where are you going, Where have you been, Joyce Carol Oates, underscores the importance of communication to develop her story. Both the presence and absence of communication are utilized in the evolution of Oates' purpose. The author relates each of her subjects to archetypal characters in order to firmly cast them into a category. Through careful consideration of detail, Oates' offers a particular understanding of Connie's relationship with her parents and the world around Connie. The interplay between Connie and her mother is primarily significant to the author's objective, with deficiency of communication as the overarching feature of their relation. This fundamental flaw between Connie and her mother allows Arnold Friend to achieve victory.

In the opening sentences Connie is depicted as a sweet yet naïve individual; an individual entrenched in the invisible audience complex who's desire for validation ultimately leads to her demise. Connie is a firmly teenage being, constantly “checking other people's faces to make sure her own was all right”. This is the first insight into Connie's world view, clarifying her selfish adolescent perception of reality. At this point in the piece Oates' offers a glimpse of the emptiness of Connie's interaction with her parents. Considering Connie's mother is characterized principally by an absence of prettiness, the reader can assume the mother and daughter are indeed shallow. Adding to this perception, is the reality that June is repeatedly mentioned in terms of appearance and “simplicity”. The family appears to exchange merely petty criticism and idol banter. From this, and Oate's description of Connie's Father, the reader can infer the family lacks sufficient communication.

Oates' implies the dysfunctional nature of the family by accenting their mundane interactions and activities. For example, the sarcastic excitation with which Oates reveals “There was one good thing [about June]: June went places with

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