Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

1946 Words Dec 4th, 2014 8 Pages
In the short story, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” the author, Joyce Carol Oates, creates Connie, an average fifteen year old girl, who rebels against her parents and begins to discover her sexual appeal as she grows up. At times it seems that Connie wants to grow up too fast. All her attention goes to her looks, music, and boys. Connie is a dynamic character who goes through an emotional rollercoaster when she meets the mysterious Arnold Friend. At first he seemed like just another boy who had caught the attention of Connie, but he turned out to be much more than that. Connie goes from being a teenager searching for independence to realizing that she needs her mother and her family. The symbolism in this story help the reader understand the antagonist of this story, Arnold Friend, and the actions Connie makes. Among these symbols are Arnold Friend’s gold car, the numbers on his car, and the music in the story. When first introduced to Connie, we perceive that she has a certain pride she carries around with her. She believes in her beauty and cares little for anything else. “She knew she was pretty and that was everything,” (321). Connie is revealed to be a very conceited young girl. Oates points out how she likes to look at herself in every mirror and often taunts her mother about her looks, because her mother was once as beautiful as she was. Stephen Slimp, of the University of West Alabama, writes “As the story opens, Connie is shallow and vapid, believing…
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