The Journey to Adulthood in Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been by Joyce Carol Oates

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“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 that when teenagers are in the coming of age, they are easily fooled and taken …show more content…

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

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