Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been By Joyce Carol Oates

Decent Essays

In the story, “Where are you going, where have you been” by Joyce Carol Oates, the author utilizes a metaphorical figure of evil to convey the underlying theme of temptation. The author refers to hell through the antagonist, Arnold Friend symbolizing the devil, and the protagonist Connie as the helpless victim who invites him in by committing the sin of vanity and lust.

The main protagonist Connie, is a young girl in the stage of adolescence and rebellion, who struggles to escape her reality while portraying herself as a beauty queen. Ultimately, this makes her more susceptible to evil’s manipulations. Connie places great importance on her physical appearance. She can be described as shallow and narcissistic because, “she had a quick, nervous giggling habit of craning her neck to glance into a mirror or checking other people's faces to make sure hers was okay” (Oates 1) Connie longs to be different from her family; she believes that because of her physical appearance she is bound for more in life than her other family members, which subjects her to a fantasy world where everything is seemingly perfect. This is illustrated through Connie’s daydreams, “Connie sat with her eyes closed in the sun, dreaming and dazed with the warmth about her as if this were a kind of love, the caress of love.” (Oates 2)

By living a life based on vanity and lust, Connie invites evil into her life. The author indicates that Arnold Friend is Satan by alluding to certain clues the

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