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Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been Analysis

1408 words - 6 pages

Have you ever been so focused on achieving your dreams that you become unaware of your current situation? When we focus on the goals ahead of us, we fail to see the obstacles and dangers that are in front of us. In order to achieve our goals we involuntarily put ourselves in an unwanted situation. Connie, herself, struggles to achieve her goal of being a desirable girl that turns heads when she walks into the room. She becomes so set on being this girl that she doesn’t realize the danger of the situation. In “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” Oates utilizes metaphors, diction, and imagery to show how Connie is in a constant tug between her reality and her dreams, and how this confines her freedoms in a world that is surrounded with malevolence.
Oates uses a metaphor to the Garden of Eden to emphasize Arnold Friend’s deceptive and malevolent ways and how his deception made Connie imagine things. Throughout the story, Connie proves to be so naïve to the dangers in her world, that all she sees is the fact that a guy is paying attention to her. You see this in the beginning of the story (Oates 505-508) when Connie and her friends go to the drive-in restaurant, and a boy named Eddie invites her to go get something to eat. She becomes so engulfed in the moment that a guy noticed her that she doesn’t realize that a guy with shaggy hair is staring at her. When Connie finally comes back down to Earth she realizes him looking at her and he sneers and tells her “Gonna get you, baby.” Connie turns away and continues as she was. Later on in the story when we find out that this shaggy haired guy is Arnold Friend, you start to see him show characteristics like that of the serpent in the Garden of Eden. On a Sunday when Connie was by herself in her house, Arnold shows up to her house. At first, Connie checks herself to make sure she looked cute, and when she realizes it’s him she becomes very defensive and exclaims “Who the hell do you think you are?” (Oates 508). At this point Arnold is being portrayed as the malevolent omnipotent character. He knows everything about Connie’s life, even as much to know how to manipulate her and make her believe that what is occurring is just a dream. He tries to lure her in by threatening her that if she doesn’t do what he says he will hurt her family; essentially mimicking the traits of the serpent of the Garden of Eden. In the Garden of Eden the snake tempts Eve by giving her the power to have what she wanted, yet by achieving what she wants (knowledge), she loses something of herself (innocence). Arnold does the same thing with Connie, he gives her the attention that she wants from guys, yet he takes her freedom of freely choosing her fate. In this story Connie’s “apple” is said to be the music that keeps playing when Arnold is seducing her (Urbanski 200-201).
The diction that Oates uses in his story portrays the evil, manipulative ways of Arnold Friend and it sets the stage for the uncertain reality of the...

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