Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

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“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” a short story written by Joyce Carol Oates, revolves around two main characters — Connie and Arnold Friend. Connie is a 15 year old girl, the protagonist in the story, who disrespects her family, and tries to act more mature than she actually is. Arnold Friend is the mysterious “villain” figure in the story that places Connie in an unpleasant situation that causes her to question the extent of her maturity. Throughout the short story Arnold pushes Connie’s comfort level, and tries to get her to be adventurous by getting in his car for a ride; however, Connie realizes that she cannot get out of this troubling situation on her own. Even though the characters’ overall personas are different, they both show arrogant tendencies, which serve as both of their greatest weaknesses in the short story. At the beginning of the story Connie is personified as a self-centered, attention-seeking, teenage girl. She is also very narcissistic, like described in an Overview “Connie takes solace in the knowledge that she is attractive and desirable to the boys she associates with at school and in town” (Overview 3). It has also been put that Connie is an, “uneducated working-class [girl] striving incoherently for something better, yet stifled by [her] environment” (Knudsen 2). Though, Connie’s way of striving for something better, is by seeking attention from others. Connie puts her appearance above all things, which keeps her attention on looking
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