The Demise of the Female Protagonists
Despite their large age difference, the teenage character Connie in “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates and the character the grandmother in “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor share the similar characteristics of manipulation, selfishness, and vanity that determine the path they are traveling. Although each character portrays these characteristics through different methods- Connie demonstrates these shared characteristics through her act of being a woman and the grandmother displays these shared characteristics through her delusion that the world revolves around her- the result is the same. Due to their manipulative, selfish, and vain nature, Connie and the grandmother meet their demise as repercussions of their actions.
The grandmother's selfishness is first presented in the fact that she takes her cat with her on vacation "because he would miss her too much and she was afraid he might brush against one of the gas burners and accidentally asphyxiate himself" (O'Connor 1097). However, cats are known for being independent, and it is more likely that the grandmother would miss the cat and not the other way around. Her reasons for smuggling the cat into the car were purely selfish and not for the cat's benefit. Connie's selfishness is also readily evident. She thinks only of herself and her own pleasure through the early paragraphs of the story. On the fateful Sunday when Arnold Friend comes to visit, Connie shuns the family barbecue by "rolling her eyes to let her mother know just what she thought of it" (Oates 2129) and tells her mother that she is not attending. Connie's egotistical behavior, while typical of many teenagers, was inconsiderate of her family's feelings.
Both Connie and the grandmother also manipulate the other members of their families, another conceited...