Analysis Of Joyce Carol OatesWhere Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

Decent Essays
Adolescents are faced with many obstacles and pressures throughout their transition from childhood to adulthood. When combined with ingenuousness from inexperience and egotism, these pressures can turn threatening in the blink of an eye. Joyce Carol Oates tells a story of female powerlessness in the face of men through the persecuted, yet narcissistic, character of Connie in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”. Connie’s unstable relationship with her family, primarily her father, ultimately contribute to the identity conflict she is undergoing. Her narcissistic desire for attention and false concepts of “love” leave her vulnerable to the manipulations of Arnold Friend. Connie falls victim to the advances of Arnold primarily because she lacks masculine guidance in her life, is subject to societal oppression, and has confused notions of relationships and sexuality.
The absence of male guidance in Connie’s life, particularly the guidance of her father, contributes to Connie’s lust for male attention. Connie’s father wasn’t what one would call a “hands on” parent. His demeanor is illustrated in the following excerpt; “Their father was away at work most of the time and when he came home, he wanted supper and he read the newspaper at supper and after supper he went to bed. He didn't bother talking much to them” (Oates). Connie seeks out the attention of other males in order to compensate for her father’s lack of interest in her. Fathers play a vital role in guiding
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