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

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There are always two sides to every story. The short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been”, by Joyce Carol Oates is a prefect example of just that. In this short story, the main character is a fifteen year old girl, named Connie. The young adolescent has two sides to herself; one when she is at home and one when she is out with her friends. When Connie is at home, she acts childlike. However, when she goes out she tries to act like an adult by changing her clothes and the way she talks. She has an older sister who shadows her with her smarts, but Connie believes that she is more beautiful and worthy than June. June is twenty-two years old, very well behaved and is actually close with their mother. Connie not only struggles with her family, but also gets herself into a bind with a much older man named Arnold Friend. This story shows that there can be darkness even in the brightest places and that everything is not always how it appears to be.
The story follows Connie where she struggles between good and evil. When she is at home she dresses, talks, laughs differently than she does when she is out. Her and her friends get dropped off at the movies, but they walk across the street to a restaurant where they will flirt with boys and listen to music. One night, Connie meets a boy named Eddie after they talked for a while Eddie took Connie for a ride, where she first saw Arnold Friend. Connie was wrapped in the joy that music brings to her when she looks up to see a boy with jet black hair starring at her. Arnold immediately showed interest in Connie by smirking and saying “Gonna get you, baby”. This showed me what kind of character that Arnold Friend was going to be, assertive and persistent. It also hinted what kind a...

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...most people trying to put on a show for themselves or for others. Connie was a young individual who thought she knew everything, but was not given the chance to find that out on her own. Some things may have pushed her into the arms of Arnold Friend. For example, it could have been his sharp, repetitive words that Connie made herself believe. Arnold Friend fooled her in the beginning and by making himself appear to be “an old friend” but his interior read “arch fiend”. Arnold Friend is a mythological character that represents the evil that sits in everyone. In some people that evil can burst out like rays of light, like the ones that were described in the story by Connie. Like the expression, “there is a devil on one shoulder, and an angel on the other”, Arnold Friend was Connie's devil.

Works Cited

"Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?", by Joyce Carol Oates