Analysis of “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” Essay

1018 WordsOct 15, 20115 Pages
Hurst 1 Allison Hurst Professor Ben Mayo English Comp II 30 April 2011 Analysis of “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates In 1966, Joyce Carol Oates published her short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”. Oates was inspired to write this story after reading about a serial killer that was referred to as “The Pied Piper of Tucson”. Oates was disturbed by the number of teenagers that this killer was able to persuade to help him and keep his secrets (Oates 1). Oates uses irony, imagery, and symbolism to support her theme of evil in this short story. Oates starts off by introducing the story’s 15 year old protagonist, Connie. Connie is symbolic of innocence and good. However, Connie has…show more content…
She notices that he is wearing make-up, and his hair looks like a wig. Oates describes Arnold with a “nose long and hawk-like, sniffing as if she were a treat he was going to gobble up” (Oates 475). This symbolizes a vulture circling a dead carcass. Another symbolism of evil is that Arnold tells Connie that he will not come in her house. He has come to take Connie away but “he may not cross a threshold uninvited” (Wegs 2). Arnold threatens Connie by telling her that if she does not come outside then he will wait till her family gets home “then they’re all going to get it” (Oates 481). Arnold ultimately lures Connie out by promising that her family will be unharmed if she gives herself to him (Oates 1). We do not know how Connie sacrifices herself. As Oates states in her article, we only know “that she is generous enough to make it”. Connie starts out in the story as someone that is self-absorbed, concerned for no one but herself. Arnold Friend is really the same way. He tells her that he saw her “that night and thought, that’s the one” (Oates 480). In spite of the words he uses, the reader knows that Arnold does not have any true feelings for Connie because he says “My sweet little blue-eyed girl” (Oates 483). Arnold is oblivious to the fact that Connie has brown eyes. “In Arnold’s view, Connie’s personal identity is totally unimportant” (Wegs 3). At the end, Connie leaves
Open Document