“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been”, is one of the many short stories written by Mrs. Joyce Carol Oates that has become highly recognized. It was inspired by a magazine story about a serial killer. It quickly it became very popular andwas even the basis for the 1985 hit movie, “SmoothTalk”. Like many other short stories and novels written by Joyce Carol Oates, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” is a story that is consumed by evil, the theme. In the story evil is projected through the eyes of the characters.(Weinberger 207) Joyce Carol Oates has been labeled by many as a, “writer of psychological realism”(Wegs 69), which is seen in this story. Tied in with the theme are three particular literary elements that interlink all of the scattered details, leaving the readers in awe at the end of the narrative. The three literary elements contributing to the short story are irony, imagery and symbolism. Irony is an important element in “Where Are You Going, Where HaveYou Been.” The title itself is ironic since it is two questions that Connie is never asked. No one has ever asked, where she was going, nor has anyone ever inquired where she has been.(sullivan 535) What is also ironic is that although she is the victim in this tale, she actually welcomes and invites this demonic provocation.(Hurly 64) Her fears that have always overtaken he subconscious self drive her into distorted separation of mind and body in which sher ealizes that her unconscious self has betrayed her.(Wegs 70) Something else somewhat ironic is when Arnold Friend says,” I’ll hold you so tight you won’t think you have to try to getaway or pretend anything because you’ll know youca...
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...ublications of the Mississippi Philological Association
Oates's "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"
Summer 1982, v40 n4 p59-60
Christina Marsden Gillis
"Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?": Seduction, Space, and a Fictional Mode
Studies in Short Fiction
Winter 1981, v18 n1 p65-70
Kevin J. Harty
Archetype and Popular Lyric in Joyce Carol Oates's "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"
1980-81, v8 n1 p26-28
Joyce M. Wegs
"Don't You Know Who I Am?": The Grotesque in Oates's "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"
Journal of Narrative Technique
January1975, v5 n1, p66-72
Where Have All the Flowers Gone?: The Short Story in Search of Itself
Summer 1970, v78 n3 p535-537
Cornell university online
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