Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been Analysis

1375 words - 6 pages

Andy Chen: 3rd Period English- “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” Analysis
In the American society, when individuals reach adolescence, they begin to search for their identity by exploring their interests and opening their mind to new notions and ideas. This is the psychological and physical human development that ultimately leads them to their adulthood. Joyce Carol Oates' short story depicts a fifteen year old girl with typical teenage concerns. She has to face the realization of the meaning of maturity in the American civilization when she is ripped out of her childhood by Arnold Friend. In the short story, "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?", Joyce Carol Oates suggests ...view middle of the document...

Connie’s exuberance in the rock music ultimately induce her sexuality; thus, she does not know the possibility of consequences because of her inadequacy of perceiving the in-depth sexual musical content that is being conveyed to her that is present today in American society. Adding on to that, Connie’s shortfall that rock music has molded her has come to light when Arnold Friend gives sexual advances to her. Joyce Carol Oates shows this by writing, “It was the same program that was playing inside the house. “Bobby King?” she said. “I listen to him all the time. I think he’s great.” “He’s kind of great,” Connie said reluctantly.” “Listen, that guy’s great. He knows where the action is.” (p.3-para.2). This shows how Connie feels shocked that Arnold was also listening to the same music as she was when she was inside the house last time. Since she was incompetent in realizing how teenagers interpret the music than adult figures, Connie is vulnerable when Arnold threatens her to come to him because of the rock music that is being allotted to teenagers. To sum it up, the sexual song lyrics and the image of rock music that is normally played and embraced in the American culture has influenced Connie, a teenager, physically and mentally; therefore, she is taken advantage of by Arnold because of her immaturity and youth.
The sexy and enticing image in the American civilization affects teenagers as they are driven to emulate those ideas which in the end are deceived and hurt because of their ignorance. In the story, Connie has predicaments within her family because of her efforts to become sexually attractive which causes her to criticize her sister and her mother. Joyce Carol Oates states, “Her name was Connie. She was fifteen and had a quick, nervous giggling habit of craning her neck into mirrors or checking other people’s faces to make sure her own was all right…Her mother had been pretty once too, if you could believe those old snapshots in the album, but now her looks were gone and that was why she was always after Connie” (p.1-para.1). This shows that she is constantly attempting to be pretty to impress her peers and future love relationships. Connie’s obsession with her physical beauty prevents her to foresee the consequences of the adult dangers that lie ahead. Thus, when Connie decides to hang out at the theatre with her friends, she is approached by Eddie who invites her to hang out with him despite not knowing inevitable ramifications. Joyce Carol Oates writes, “He stared at her and then his lips widened into a grin. Connie slit her eyes at him and turned away, but she couldn’t help glancing back and there he was, still watching her” (p.1-para.6). This shows that because of Connie’s focus on beauty and lust for affection as a teenager, she is fooled by Eddie due to his suspicious actions that are being blinded to her. In summary, the American culture’s notion on...

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