Essay on Oates' "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been"

Essay on Oates' "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been"

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“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been,” written by Joyce Carol Oates is an unsettling and incredibly formidable story of a young woman’s loss of innocence during a time of social change and turbulent times. The story’s protagonist is Connie, a self-absorbed, yet beautiful fifteen year old girl, who not only is at odds with her family but also the conservative values handed down by her family. She, unknowing to her parents, spends her evenings exploring her independence and individuality as well as by flirting and picking up boys at a local diner. One evening she catches the attention of a strange, creepy boy who drives a gold, dilapidated convertible. While alone at home one Sunday afternoon, this same creepy boy driving the gold convertible, along with a friend, pulls up in front of her house. She recognizes the boy from the diner and he introduces himself as Arnold Friend. Initially, the silver-tongued, charismatic stranger intrigues Connie. This intrigue quickly turns to fear as a sense of uneasiness overcomes her. As Arnold insists she go for a ride with him, Connie refuses. He becomes more insistent and sinister and ultimately threatens to harm her family if she does not come with him. The story ends as Connie gives in and agrees to go with him; her immediate fate uncertain.
First published in 1966, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” is a story inspired by a Life magazine article about Charles Schmid, a manipulative and gruesome serial killer in Tucson, Arizona, who preyed upon the innocence of young girls (Ramsland). In addition to the factual events that greatly influenced this short story, Oates was able to show the monumentally historical events that were shaping America when it was written. The story is set...


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...ome because the horrible historical event that inspired this story back in 1966 will persists within our society today.








Works Cited

Anderson, Walt. The Age of Protest. Pacific Palisades, CA: Goodyear Pub., 1969. Print.
"BBC NEWS | Programmes | Hardtalk | Joyce Carol Oates." BBC News - Home. Web. 06 Aug. 2011.
"Brief Analysis Of the Counterculture Movement of the 1960s." DocShare - A New Way to Share Documents Online. Web. 06 Aug. 2011.
"Founding of NOW." National Organization for Women (NOW). Web. 06 Aug. 2011.
Miller, Paula M. "Joyce Carol Oates." Identities & Issues in Literature (1997): 1. MagillOnLiterature Plus. EBSCO. Web. 6 Aug. 2011.
Ramsland, Katherine. "Charles Schmid, the Pied Piper of Tucson --The Crime Library — Inspiration for Joyce Carol Oates — Crime Library on TruTV.com." TruTV.com: Not Reality. Actuality. Web. 06 Aug. 2011.

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