Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been

1249 Words5 Pages
Throughout many cultures, age has been seen as a determinate factor of maturity. And with this maturity, comes power. This belief is clearly defined in Joyce Carol Oates’ short story, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been”. In this story, the main character, Connie, struggles to reach maturity. Wielding her sexuality in hand, Connie charges into the battle for power, leaving her vulnerable to Arnold Friend’s temptation. Through the use of a symbolic figure, Arnold Friend, who represents the devil, Oates is able to manifest the power struggle between youth and maturity and how Connie strives to obtain the power that comes with maturity. As seen throughout the story, those who are younger are portrayed as powerless and looked down upon. This is mostly defined in Connie as she struggles to reach maturity. At home, she is viewed as a young, immature child who cannot do anything. “’Why don’t you keep your room clean like your sister? […] you don’t see your sister using that junk’ […] Connie had to hear [June] praised all the time by her mother and her mother’s sisters” (Oates). As shown, Connie is viewed as a child in the eyes of her family. Her mother constantly assumes dominance over her by berating her. “Connie wished her mother was dead and she herself was dead and it was all over” (Oates). As a symbol of youth in the house hold, she resents her mother and sister because they symbolize the figure of power and maturity that she desires. Not only is this lack
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