Where Are You Going Where Have You Been? By Joyce Carol Oates

1436 words - 6 pages

The decisions that you make throughout life can make or break you; you just have to make the right ones. In Joyce Carol Oates story “Where Are Your Going Where Have You Been?”, the main character is Connie. Connie had an older sister but she was nothing like her. Her older sister always pleased her mom, and Connie did not care. Connie and her friend hang out and go to the shopping center or the movies. One day they decided that instead of going to the mall they would go to the diner across the street. She met a boy named Arnold. After that night everything started to spiral down. “Where Are You Going Where Have You Been?” demonstrates a teenager who decided to cross the road and become a woman.
Connie was tired of the life she was living and, she was ready to make decisions for herself and to deal with the consequences for them. She knew that if her parents found out about her going to the diner that she would be in trouble. Connie did not care about the consequences for her actions. She felt like it was time to grow up and be a woman. She wanted to start to experiment with her sexuality. Connie wanted boys to start to notice her and talk to her. Connie thinks that guys could be her savior by helping deliver her from the pressure and anxieties from her sister and mother. Her going out on her own makes her realize that she does not have to please anyone, only herself. When Connie and her friend went to the diner she met this guy Arnold. Obviously being with Eddie for three hours in a dark alley and diner was not the best first move for her. This is the one decision that will change her life forever. This was probably the first guy that gave Connie some attention. So obviously she is going to soak him up and just go and do whatever he wants her to do. It all started when Connie and her friend cross the street. “When Connie first meets Arnold 'Friend' at a burger joint, even though he ‘wag(s) a finger at her’ and states ‘Gonna get you, baby’ Connie registers no threat, and leaves without thinking about him again until he shows up uninvited at her house”. (qtd. in Caldwell) The exposition, or background development, ends at this point and the action begins.”(Caldwell ) Connie did not realize that Arnold was an old man until at the end. This shows her being anxious about guys and not really caring who it is and how old they are. Connie leaving her comfort zone was a very violent move for her and her situation. The move made everything worse for her, and she was sexually insecure; she wanted to dress nice and look appealing to guys. She had a hole and she filled that hole with guys. Arnold was the first guy to give her sexual attention. Sometimes when you get what you want you realize that it is not what you wanted at all.
Most of Connie’s friends were not spiritual. It was like she had no one to look up to her age. “One critic comments that the story itself is ‘About the spiritual condition of late twentieth century...

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