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Analyzing Joyce Carol Oates Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been Essay

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been Analysis The story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” written by Joyce Carol Oates has a different, yet catching title. The title plays strongly into the characters. One of the main character Connie really relates to the title. Her mom wants her to be this perfect little girl, whereas Connie likes the attention of guys and to be a little more on the rebel lifestyle. Connie never tells her mom “where she is going, or where she has been” when she is tells her she is at the mall with her friend. Connie’s double life winds up getting her into some danger.

She runs into a angerous problem with another main character Arnold Friend. He sees Connie one night when she was out with a guy and knew right then he wanted her. She was not where she was supposed to be. He showed up at her house telling her “where she had been” and also “where her family is going. ” Arnold wants Connie to come with him. He wants her to come with him. To leave “This place you are now-inside your daddy’s house-is nothing but a cardboard box. ” When Connie refuses to go with him, he proceeds to tell her where her old neighbor lived and what she did before she died.

He goes on to tell her many things he should not know. Arnold Friend then makes Connie weak. He controls her and explains to her how “. you’ll give into me, and you’ll love me. ” Joyce Carol Oates knew what she was doing when she was writing this story and planning the characters. Joyce Carol Oates tied many things back to the title. The whole story ties in to it. If Connie would have told her mom “Where she was going, where she had been” she might not have gotten herself into all the danger with Arnold Friend.

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” teaches, when living a double lifestyle, you can end up in major danger you can not get away from. While writing “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” Joyce Carol Oates put great thought into her characters. One of the main characters, Connie who is the protagonist of the story. She plays a key role in the central idea of the story with the way she lives so secretive to her family. She is a young teenage girl who lives a double lifestyle.

“Everything about her had two sides to it, one for home and one for anywhere that was not home… While at home she acts as sweet innocent girl who is overly obsessed with the way she looks. When she leaves the house she becomes almost like an adult. Connie no longer acts 15 years old. She now gets joy from all the attention the men give her. Especially older men. Connie is addicted to the attention they give her. Connie’s maturity level along with her sexual appearance she provides, get her into some grave danger with an older man named Arnold Friend. Arnold friend is the antagonist of the story. He is a very strange character.

From his odd car to his appearance. Arnold Friend is not so much a “friend” to Connie. In the story Friend plays the role as a man but in deeper meaning, he is really a demonic figure. When he unexpectedly shows up to Connie’s house, his strangeness begins to grow dramatically. Arnold Friend is not some normal person. He comes off as if he has some deeper issues. Although Arnold Friend has a strange appearance and there seems to be something wrong with him, Connie sees a slight interest in him. Friend then shows his dangerous side when Connie refuses to come outside.

He threatens her in many ways like, “Soon as you touch the phone I don’t need to keep my promise and can come inside. You won’t want that. ” He eventually overpowers Connie in someway. Oates never tells what exactly happened to between Connie and Arnold Friend in the end of the story. Joyce Carol Oates uses symbolism to help her tell the story of Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been. ” The symbolism of Arnold Friend’s car is a major part of the story. The, “which was painted so bright it almost hurt her eyes to look at it,” was very odd.

It was gold and flashy, but had many random and outdated says all over it. Friend has three number printed on the side of his car. “He read the numbers off 33, 19, 17 and raised his eyebrows at her to see what she thought of that… ” The numbers symbol his sexual side. When the numbers are added, it equals 69. There is a saying on his car “DONE BY A CRAZY WOMEN DRIVER,” Women did not really drive in the 1960’s. Everything about Arnold Friend’s car symbolizes his strange, sexual, demanding characteristics. His car screams he is full of danger and not all right.

Another use of figurative language is Arnold Friend’s name. His name is ironic. Arnold Friend is far from a friend to Connie. In fact, he is the complete opposite of a friend. He wants to take Connie for himself. He causes her grave danger and even harms her in the end. Arnold Friend has such irony to it, because Friend, is her enemy. Joyce Carol Oates is not straightforward with her setting. But that does not take away from the story. The 1960’s basic town etting helps the story unfold. In the 1960’s women were not treated as equally as men.

They had less power than the men. Arnold Friend proves this when he expects Connie to listen to him when he tells her what to do. Just like the other women in the 1960’s Connie did not want to listen to the men. The smaller town setting made it easier for Arnold friend to find Connie and know exactly what she was doing, along with her family as well. Along with the setting, the third person limited omniscient point of view directs the reader to feel sympathy for Connie. The point of view allows the reader to see Arnold Friend and the situations rom Connie’s perspective.

If the story was told in a different point of view the reader may get a complete contrasting outcome opinion. The setting and the point of view play together to pus h the reader to feel for Connie. “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been,” shows Connie’s double lifestyle brings her to a load of trouble. If only she would have let her family know where she was going, and where she had been, she would not be overpowered by Arnold Friend. Joyce Carol Oates writes her story as if it were a movie. The figurative language, setting, and plot assist the readers while reading this story.

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