Fantasy Versus Reality Essay

1415 words - 6 pages

Daniel RayosProfessor LeanoEnglish 1019 September 2014It's Time To Face The MusicIn Joyce Carol Oates' short story, "Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been," Connie is caught in the crossfire of the war between fantasy and reality in her teenage mind. This story clearly demonstrates that what one may see, is not what one always gets. Sometimes what an individual sees in his or her eyes, is not exactly what it appears to be in reality. People can delude themselves into creating their own "reality", when it is merely a fantasy. In Connie's case, she faces her struggle with fantasy and reality through pop culture's influence on her, her façade as a sexually mature woman, and her terrifying nightmare of Arnold Friend. It is through this story that Oates presents to the readers, the dangers of trading fantasy over reality.The love and romance music she listens to and images of pop culture that she sees and embraces are far much different from the reality of adult sexuality. Connie fills her mind "with trashy daydreams" (651), which indicates that her mind is filled with teenage lusts and fantasies. Connie spends most of her summer, "thinking, dreaming, about the boys she met. But all the boys fell back and dissolved into a single face that was not even a face, but an idea, a feeling, mixed up with the urgent insistent pounding of the music. . ." (653). Music is something that Connie connects to deeply and it actually functions as a symbol in this story. It symbolizes her safe haven- where she can escape to her fantasy- "trashy daydreams" from the harsh reality. Music is more so a pathway from the real word to the fantasy world. "The music was always in the background . . . it was something to depend upon" (652). Music is everywhere in this story, such as in restaurants, cars, and homes. For Connie, music is associated with sex; her feelings for boys are mixed up with "the insistent pounding of the music" (653) and its "slow-pulsed joy" (654). Connie's perception and thoughts of love come from movies and music created by pop culture. For example, "Connie sat with her eyes closed in the sun, dreaming and dazed with the warmth about her as if this were a kind of love. . . her mind slipped over onto thoughts of the boy she had been with the night before. . . gentle, the way it was in movies and promised in songs. . ." (653). She has allowed pop culture to define sex and love for her through its music and movies, and she refuses to accept the reality of sex and love.Connie puts on a show by playing the role as a mature woman, however in reality, she is still a kid herself. It is only an act which enables her to simply live her fantasy in the real world. This is true because "Everything about her had two sides to it, one for home and one for anywhere that was not home" (Oates 652). This reveals that Connie is one person when she is at home with her parents and her older sister June, however, a completely different person when she is not at home. It...

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