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

1329 words - 5 pages

There are always two sides to every story. The short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been”, by Joyce Carol Oates is a prefect example of just that. In this short story, the main character is a fifteen year old girl, named Connie. The young adolescent has two sides to herself; one when she is at home and one when she is out with her friends. When Connie is at home, she acts childlike. However, when she goes out she tries to act like an adult by changing her clothes and the way she talks. She has an older sister who shadows her with her smarts, but Connie believes that she is more beautiful and worthy than June. June is twenty-two years old, very well behaved and is actually close with their mother. Connie not only struggles with her family, but also gets herself into a bind with a much older man named Arnold Friend. This story shows that there can be darkness even in the brightest places and that everything is not always how it appears to be.
The story follows Connie where she struggles between good and evil. When she is at home she dresses, talks, laughs differently than she does when she is out. Her and her friends get dropped off at the movies, but they walk across the street to a restaurant where they will flirt with boys and listen to music. One night, Connie meets a boy named Eddie after they talked for a while Eddie took Connie for a ride, where she first saw Arnold Friend. Connie was wrapped in the joy that music brings to her when she looks up to see a boy with jet black hair starring at her. Arnold immediately showed interest in Connie by smirking and saying “Gonna get you, baby”. This showed me what kind of character that Arnold Friend was going to be, assertive and persistent. It also hinted what kind a person Connie could be, immature and oblivious . The next day, her sister June asked her how the movie went, and Connie lied to her and said “so-so”. This showed me that she was also an untrustworthy person.
Throughout this entire story, there are fine lines between the religious aspects and just a story about a teenager girl. Before things really elevated with Connie, she let her hair dry naturally all day Sunday because her family does not go to church. Also, Connie's father was absent throughout the entire story. I see his character as symbolism for Christ or some kind of belief for Connie. The absence of Connie's faith is not the only dark element in this story, but Arnold Friend himself or itself is also a dark element. Arnold Friend was described as a boy one second and then a man with shaggy hair and glass eyes the next. Arnold shows up at Connie's house when her family went to barbecue on a hot Sunday. This was only the second time Connie has seen Arnold Friend and possibly the last. He limped to her front door, telling her to come to his arms and that her family would not even notice nor care that she ever went missing. Arnold had a strange friend with him, Ellie, who sat silently in the car listening to...

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