Character Analysis In Joyce Oates "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"

2673 words - 11 pages

Character Analysis in Joyce Oates "Where are you going, where have you been?"In life there are so many different paths to take, which take us to many different ends. It is one's character that determines the destination and the forgoing of one's inevitability. However, in life there are so many distractions or forces that try to mislead us and eventually take hold of us. It is our weaknesses that allow those forces to be used against us without being conscious of them occurring. That is why society has far more powerful forces to understand and comprehend than we actually think. Therefore, after reading Joyce Oates' story of "Where are you going, where have you been?" it is shown that Connie who always strived for attention, turns to be the victim of a horrible tragedy. That it is why I feel it is crucial to understand the reasoning that lead to this undermining event and reflect upon it.The story of "Where are you going, where have you been?" is a third person narrative. The author writes this story using a lot of imagery and figurative language that provides us with more meaning than what is presented in the text. In addition, the critical point that is shown in the story is how Connie's mother was the negative force that corrupted Connie and led her to the dark side. Since the fact that "her mother had been pretty once too, if you could believe those old snapshots in the album, but now her looks were gone and that was why she was always after Connie." (Oates, 655) It is shown that indeed Connie does remind her mother of when she was young, but that beauty is gone, which unfortunately leads the mother to favor Connie's sister, June.The story consists of two main scenes: the world Connie thrives in and the day that everything in her world changes. The story begins by introducing the reader to Connie's (the protagonist) world. The reader is allowed into the private thoughts of Connie, making her the focal point and heroine of the story. The author begins the story with Connie's life to establish a world we can grow familiar with, so we will later feel the experience of the foundation dropping out. Connie is an attractive fifteen year old girl, easily recognized by the reader as the epitome of a teenager. Her world is full of rock and roll music, friends, fun, and fantasy. She spends the summer going to town with friends, listening to music, and meeting with boys. Her and her friends share similar interests in boys and fun, and "would lean together and whisper and laugh secretly" (Oates 655) when they gathered together. Like many teens, Connie seemingly lives two lives: one that her family sees, another that she projects to her peers. "Everything about her had two sides to it, one for home and one for anywhere that was not home" (Oates 655). She seems to at constant odds with her family, not seeming to have any emotional connection to them, observable to the reader. She lies to her mother and sister about her friends and where she goes at night....

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