Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

1733 Words7 Pages
Where there is desire, there is hope, despair, and struggle. Joyce Carol Oates illustrates animatedly the asphyxiated struggle of desire in her short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” The story narrates the life of a young girl, named Connie, and her fated and enigmatic confrontation with a strange man. Feeling trapped in her own home with her own family, Connie, a self-conscious and rebellious teenager, tries to figure out a way to identify herself with the world around her. Her desire of escaping the reality fuels her struggle to enter adulthood. Through the physical form of Arnold Friend, who embodies both the hope and the despair in Connie’s struggle, the author metaphorically portrays a vigorous and psychological pressure that Connie has to endure. The story is scripted to allude to the danger of identifying oneself through sexuality in young girls. To better understanding this cryptic story, it is important to follow the psychological processes and conflict of Connie’s character, which help unveil the allegorical meaning of a young girl’s rite of passage through sex. In the beginning of the story, the way Oates describes Connie’s behaviors help construct Connie’s state of mind as a doubtful and vulnerable young girl. The author perfectly capture the essences of Connie’s character by illustrates how Connie has, “a quick, nervous giggling habit of craning neck to glance into mirrors or checking other people’s faces to make sure her own was all right,”
Open Document