Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

1882 Words8 Pages
Through its contrasting reality and dreamlike scenes, Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” uses details from a true American horror story to convey a message about society, youth and a loss of innocence. Arizona native Charles Schmid murdered Alleen Rowe on May 31, 1964. Schmid was considered a serial killer and was subsequently arrested and convicted of the heinous crimes that he was accused of. The profile of Schmid as a short man who wore makeup, wigs and altered boots to make him appear taller, were used by Oates in her story to describe the antagonist, Arnold Friend. In the story and in real life the antagonist/Schmid, uses his fake looks, money and smooth talking as a way to get people to follow him; giving him…show more content…
If not thought about or read over more than once, the fact that Connie’s father was almost a phantom in her life might be missed. In this era, fathers in particular were not very active in their children’s lives, daughters especially; they were the mother’s problem. This same idea carries over to the father of Connie’s best girlfriend, who after driving them to the stores or movies “…never even bothered to ask what they had done.” (Oates, "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"), the name of the story is also a question that should be asked of any daughter by her father. The fathers in question here display a sense of total apathy to the question of what their daughters are actually doing. These fathers came from a time in the 40’s and 50’s when men worried about men things and woman issues were exactly that. Men and in particular fathers of that time made no effort to be involved in their daughters lives as they are today. Oates noticed that issue in society and attached it to her work in this story although minutely. The main conflict in Connie’s life is trying to balance a fine line between the way she acts at home in front of her mother, and her secret wild side which she only shows to her friends and the boys she meets. Oates’ characterization of Connie is that of a round character, one of intense
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