Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

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The Cultural Revolution and Sexual Desires in Oates’s “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” The late 1950s was a time of cultural revolution which had a large influence on the American youth. “As the next decade drew near, issues such as civil rights, war, women 's rights, and the sexual revolution would deeply affect many American teenagers. The conservative family values and morals that predominated in the 1950s were just beginning to be challenged as the decade came to a close” (Moss and Wilson 3). As a result, many teenagers lost the conservative morals of the 1950s and became more independent. In “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates, Connie represents the result of this cultural revolution. Criticized by her mother for her promiscuity, Connie is an independent girl who often hangs out with her friends trying to attract boys. In doing so, she attracts a sexual predator named Arnold Friend who visits her at her home to try to get her to leave with him to presumably rape her. At the end of the story, Connie chooses to go with him. Connie gets into this dangerous situation because of a mistaken belief on her self-worth, the loss of morals by her and the adults in the story, and the influence of the 1960s popular music. Looking at “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” through the historical and feminist lenses, suggests that the story is really about how the misconceptions on self-worth and the diversion of 1960s society from
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