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The Immaturity Of A Young Woman

798 words - 4 pages

In Joyce Carol Oates’ short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” Connie, a fifteen-year-old woman, is introduced as pretty, daydreaming and curious about men. In the course of the story, Connie loses her pretended self-confidence in public and simultaneously regrets that she has provoked men's sexual desires when she realizes her still apparent unstableness and sexual immaturity in the presence of Arnold Friend. Unfortunately, her insecurity finally enables Arnold to change Connie’s pretended self-confidence into a defenseless attitude. Consequently, Connie is a girl in a woman’s body: First, Connie is narcissistic and only concerned with her outer appearance in public and her effect on men. Second, Connie is an immature young woman, based on her understanding of a relationship with a young man. Third, Connie behaves as an anxious child because she is not able to handle Arnold Friend's appearance and to call for help.
Connie’s narcissistic behavior and her knowledge that she is very popular causes her to pretend a self-confident, mature woman who follows the aim to be in a relationship and who enjoys every single moment of attention (Oates 120). Connie almost plays with different personalities to perfect her attractiveness because "[E] everything about her had two sides to it, one for home and one for anywhere that was not home: her walk, which could be childlike and bobbing, [...] her laugh which was cynical [...] at home [...] but highpitched and nervous anywhere else [...]" (Oates 119-20). Through this charisma, she consciously attracts boys’ interest, but unconsciously, she also provokes men’s sexual desires (Oates 120-21). In other words, this false pretence naturally causes men to develop concrete desires to possess her and to have sexual intercourse with Connie (Oates 119). At the beginning of the story, Connie's ambivalent personalities work well when she meets Eddie (Oates 120). Eddie has no problem that, in spite of Connie's extroverted behavior in public, she is not willing and prepared for any sexual intimacies which can be ascribed to her introverted and immature personality. Connie is not disposed to an intensive relationship with a boy or even a man. She simply likes dreaming of being loved by them, but in a superficial and careful level: "[She was] thinking, dreaming about the boys she met. But all the boys fell back and...

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