Connie´s Coming of Age

1245 Words5 Pages
M K Cantrell

D. Hicks

English 1102

6 November 2013

Connie’s Coming of Age

In her famous short story, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been,” Joyce Carol Oates shows the transition from childhood to adulthood through her character Connie. Each person experiences this transition in their own way and time. For some it is leaving home for the first time to go to college, for others it might be having to step up to a leadership position. No matter what, this transition affects everyone; it just happens to everyone differently. Oates describes Connie's unfortunate coming of age in a much more violent and unexpected way than the typical coming of age story for a fifteen year old girl.

Connie has the need to be viewed as older and as more mature than she really is, all the while still displaying childlike behavior. She shows this childlike behavior by “craning her neck to glance in mirrors [and] checking other people’s faces to make sure her own was all right” (Oates 323). This shows that Connie is very insecure and needs other people’s approval. Although on one side she is very childish, on the other side she has a strong desire to be treated like an adult. This longing for adulthood is part of her coming of age, and is demonstrated by her going out to “bright-lit, fly-infested restaurant[s]” and meeting boys, staying out with those boys for three hours at a time, and lying to her parents about where she has been and who she has been with (Oates 325, 326). “Everything about her ha[s] two sides to it, one for home and one for anywhere that was not home” (Oates 324). Even her physical movements represent her two-sided nature: “her walk that could be childlike and bobbing, or languid enough to make anyone think she was hearin...

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