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

1171 words - 5 pages

Identity is who you are, how people know you; it determines the group you belong in. Without identity, we would all be the same and it would be a pretty boring world. Dee in “Everyday Use” and Connie in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” both face the struggle of trying to find their identity with escapism from their families, their image in society, and the new influences that enter their lives.
Your image in society is a substantial part of your identity. Connie is constantly worried about her image and what other people think of her. Oates gives us evidence of this in the first paragraph of the story, “Her name was Connie. She was fifteen and she had a quick nervous giggling habit of craning her neck to glance into mirrors, or checking other people’s faces to make sure her own was all right” (Oates 107). Connie thought her image was everything she was so focused on how she looked all the time she was not even sure who she really was. Image is not everything, beauty fades but personality and morals can go a long way in life. The fact that she was always checking herself and her appearance shows how insecure she was. Her lack of morals and something to stand for made her vulnerable to Arnold Friend and his manipulating words, all he had to do was make her feel beautiful. Dee in “Everyday Use” also tries to fit in with society and change her image as to what society thinks it should be. During the time period of which this story was set slaves were trying to get in touch with their heritage. They started practicing a lot of things that Africans did, such as their clothes, religion, names, etc. Dee was not to be left out in this new trend in society, so she started practicing some of these things too. She changed her appearance and name. Dee’s mother starts talking to Dee and simply says her name when Dee quickly corrects her, “‘No, mama’, she says. ‘Not ‘Dee,’ Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo!’”(Walker 916). Dee also changes her appearance, when she arrives back home her mother says, “I hear Maggie go “Uhnnnh” again. It is her sister’s hair. It stands straight up like the wool on a sheep. It is black as night and around the edges are two long pigtails that rope about like small lizards disappearing behind her head” (Walker 916). Dee changes her entire image just to fit in with society.
In addition, family is just as important as image when it comes to your identity. We are around our families our whole lives they have an enormous impact on our identity, after all they give us our names without different names there would be no need for identity anyway everyone would just be a “hey you!”. Connie in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” tries to find her identity by escapism from her family. Connie’s identity is split, outside of her home she is identified as a sexy, fairly popular adolescent, while at home she is just a normal teenage girl. Whenever she went out she found pleasure in the fact that older boys and sometimes men found her...

Find Another Essay On Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates

1311 words - 5 pages Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” is a modern interpretation of the classic narrative of evil tempting innocence. Oates’ version of the devil allegory combines this Christian model of temptation with contemporary secular society. Connie is a pretty fifteen year-old girl, beginning the process of maturation into adulthood. She begins to become aware of her ability to act of her own volition, but her naivete

An Analysis of Joyce Carol Oates’ Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been

1882 words - 8 pages An Analysis of Joyce Carol Oates’ Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been Joyce Carol Oates is one of the most productive writers of our time. Between 1971-95, Oates published twenty-five novels, eighteen short story compilations, three collections of novellas, five volumes of poetry, six editions of plays, eight books of essays, and countless more umcollected works (Kellman 487). As the format for her writing varies, so does her subject

Joyce Carol Oates' Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

654 words - 3 pages Joyce Carol Oates' "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" Every person comes face to face at some point in life with vital decisions. Some of the decisions are minor ones, while others can bring turning points in life. In Joyce Carol Oates' "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?' she displays a particular instant in the main character's life. This character, Connie was caught in the difficult transition from her youth and innocence

The Devil in Joyce Carol Oates' Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

1612 words - 6 pages The Devil in Joyce Carol Oates' "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" Her name is Connie, and she is not unlike many girls of the time she lives in. She is vain, she is constantly at war with her family, and she is in an incredible rush to grow up. Her race to maturity is the trait focused on in Joyce Carol Oates' "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been." It splits Connie into two different personalities: 'One for home, and

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

1208 words - 5 pages Connie, the main character in Joyce Carol Oates' "Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been" is a fifteen-year-old girl, just realizing her beauty. It is summer vacation, and she is spending her time either with boys or daydreaming about them. Connie is a typical teenage girl with a desperate need for independence. She does not get along with her mother, and her father is seldom around. He works a great deal of the time, and when he comes home

Stereotypes in Women "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" by Joyce Carol Oates "Rape Fantasies" by Margaret Atwood

1265 words - 5 pages Many authors this day in age will write about many different topics ranging from politics to science and all the in between which affects all of our lives in some way. In the two stories "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" by Joyce Carol Oates and "Rape Fantasies" by Margaret Atwood, they address a topic that seems to be an ongoing problem in our society. They discuss the stereotypes of women and how they are viewed in society through

Reality is Like A Dream in Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been by Joyce Carol Oates

1568 words - 6 pages Reality is Like A Dream in Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been by Joyce Carol Oates Joyce Carol Oates intrigues readers in her fictional piece “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” by examining the life of a fifteen year old girl. She is beautiful, and her name is Connie. Oates lets the reader know that “everything about her [Connie] had two sides to it, one for home, and one for anywhere but home (27). When Connie goes out

Behind the facade of a killer: Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates

1386 words - 6 pages Piper of Tucson" 1st ed. Portland: Feral House, 1996. Print. Moser, Don. "The Pied Piper of Tuscon." Life 4 Mar. 1966: n. pag. Web. 14 Nov. 2013. Oates, Joyce Carol. "When Characters From the Page Are Made Flesh on the Screen." The New York Times. N.p., 23 Mar. 1986. Web. 14 Nov. 2013. Oates, Joyce Carol. "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" Exploring Literature: Writing and Arguing about Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and the Essay. By Frank

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been by Oates

1232 words - 5 pages formed adolescent minds that any effective argument for responsible attitudes or analysis of sexual behavior in teens should be expressed with a certain minimal degree of clarity. Unfortunately, this essential lucidity of advice is missing in the short story “Where are You Going, Where Have You Been,” in which the misguided Joyce Carol Oates creates the character of Arthur Friend as a cliché personification of the inner demon of uncontrollably

"Where are you going, Where have you been" by Joyce Carol Oates vs. the Smooth Talk movie when dealing with minor characters.

1725 words - 7 pages The Minor Portion of"Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been"The story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been", by Joyce Carol Oates, has been discussed by many critics who try to interpret the story the way the author intended. In Larry Rubin's article, "Oates's 'Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been'," he states that the story is "Connie's scary encounter with Arnold as a dream-vision or "daymare" - one in which Connie's intense desire

Oates' "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been"

1396 words - 6 pages “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been,” written by Joyce Carol Oates is an unsettling and incredibly formidable story of a young woman’s loss of innocence during a time of social change and turbulent times. The story’s protagonist is Connie, a self-absorbed, yet beautiful fifteen year old girl, who not only is at odds with her family but also the conservative values handed down by her family. She, unknowing to her parents, spends her

Similar Essays

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

1671 words - 7 pages Woven into the twisted short story by Joyce Carol Oates “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” stands a figure of demonic proportions; a man whose mere presence develops into an ominous fear, bringing with him a thickness of anxiety and an eerie sense of premature death. While her parents are away on a Sunday afternoon, Connie is approached by a strange man named Arnold Friend who is determined to seduce her and steal her away. Rather than

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

575 words - 2 pages relief that you’ve finally have made it. For many, our minds play tricks on us when we feel a moment of fear, however for others it may turn out to be their worst nightmare. In the story, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates, a young girl is forced to make a decision that will change her life forever when she is confronted by a man obsessed with her beauty. In the beginning, the author introduces Connie, a 15-year

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

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