Where are you Going, Where have you Been Analysis Essay

Where are you Going, Where have you Been Analysis Essay

Length: 649 words (1.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The short story "Where are you going, where have you been?" by Joyce Carol Oates is full of symbolism that represents elements such as evil and loss of innocence. The symbolism is a crucial part of the story because it helps the reader to read between the lines and see beyond the obvious meanings of things. Some of the important symbols present in this story are Arnold's car, Arnold himself, and the doorway of Connie's family's house.
One important symbol present in the story is Arnold's orange car. I think that it is meant to resemble Cinderella's pumpkin carriage. In Cinderella's fairytale the carriage is what liberates Cinderella from her unhappy family life to the ball where she meets her prince charming, falls in love him, becomes a princess, and in the end lives happily ever after. In this story, rather than whisking Connie away to happiness Arnold is most likely going to take her happiness and her innocence away from her once she agrees to get in the car. It is an old car that has been made to look newer than it really is. And on some level, the car also helps Connie to realize how important her family is to her. Although Connie might see it differently her family life really isn't so bad. She is a somewhat self-centered girl who thinks of herself as better than her mother and sister and attributes their familial problems to them being jealous of her. She doesn't seem to care much about them throughout the story until Arnold comes in his carriage to take her away from it all. Then she realizes how much she cares about them and even agrees to go with him just to keep her family safe from Arnold, who has shown her that he knows exactly what her family is like and even what they are doing in that precise moment.
Another imp...


... middle of paper ...


...d dresses differently than she does when she is home. She wants attention and affection which unfortunately works a bit too well when Arnold sees her. The doorway goes from being a form of freedom and escape to Connie to being a type of cage keeping her safe from Arnold that she cannot leave if she wants to stay safe and away from Arnold. In the end it does not succeed in keeping her safe for long when she ultimately decides to leave to protect her family from Arnold Friend.
In conclusion, "Where are you going, where have you been?" is full of important symbolism that help to expand the story and subtly helps the reader comprehend the story better. They represent things such as evil, loss of innocence, and the line between freedom and imprisonment. Without these symbols the story would be much less interesting and would have been considerably harder to understand.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Literary Analysis : Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? Essay examples

- Literary Analysis: Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been. In the short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” written by Joyce Carol Oats, the writer includes a very interesting character. One of the main characters, Arnold Friend, is a dynamic character due to the sudden changes of this physical appearance and personality. At first he seems charming and a little on the sweet side, but then his dark side starts to show as the story progresses. He first appears when Connie abandons her friend to go with a boy named Eddie....   [tags: Love, Fiction, Short story, Promise]

Better Essays
862 words (2.5 pages)

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been Analysis Essay

- Have you ever been so focused on achieving your dreams that you become unaware of your current situation. When we focus on the goals ahead of us, we fail to see the obstacles and dangers that are in front of us. In order to achieve our goals we involuntarily put ourselves in an unwanted situation. Connie, herself, struggles to achieve her goal of being a desirable girl that turns heads when she walks into the room. She becomes so set on being this girl that she doesn’t realize the danger of the situation....   [tags: joyce oates, eden garden, focus]

Better Essays
988 words (2.8 pages)

Where are you Going, Where have you Been Analysis Essay

- The short story "Where are you going, where have you been?" by Joyce Carol Oates is full of symbolism that represents elements such as evil and loss of innocence. The symbolism is a crucial part of the story because it helps the reader to read between the lines and see beyond the obvious meanings of things. Some of the important symbols present in this story are Arnold's car, Arnold himself, and the doorway of Connie's family's house. One important symbol present in the story is Arnold's orange car....   [tags: joyce oates, evil, symbolism]

Better Essays
649 words (1.9 pages)

Analysis Of ' Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been `` Essay

- Though thoroughly distinguishable, the short stories “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” by Joyce Carol Oates and “Interpreter of Maladies” by Jhumpa Lahiri present wide opportunities for one to compare and contrast literary elements. The two works, published within thirty years of one another, may be compared through the common theme of appearance versus reality, which is furthered through analogous instances of sexual symbolism, and contrasted through dissimilar settings and plot lines....   [tags: Joyce Carol Oates, Short story, Jhumpa Lahiri]

Better Essays
788 words (2.3 pages)

Analysis Of ' Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been `` Essay

- Isolation is a common and necessary theme in traditional American coming of age stories. Joyce Carol Oates uses familial isolation in both of her short stories to enable the main character to grow up. In “Where are you going, Where have you Been” Connie has bad relationships with the other women in her family, and so she separates her familial life and her social life because “everything about her had two sides to it one for home and one for anywhere that was not home” (Where 1). Connie has done this to herself to get away from her judgmental mother and her perfect, frumpy older sister....   [tags: Joyce Carol Oates, Short story, Adult]

Better Essays
2066 words (5.9 pages)

Movie Analysis : ' Watch Where You 're Going Fat Ass ! ' Essay

- Unrealistic Standards “Watch where you’re going fat ass!”. Quoted from the famous 2004 movie, Mean Girls, a high school girl hollers this at main character, Regina George, for gaining weight. Being in the middle of the school cafeteria, Regina gets laughed at and ridiculed in front of her peers. While this scene is a laughing stock for people at first watch, it actually does much more for our society than provide a couple of chuckles. It subconsciously instills a line of thinking in adolescence saying that acquiring weight is an abominable thing to do....   [tags: Mass media, Advertising, Facebook, Woman]

Better Essays
1820 words (5.2 pages)

Analysis Of Rodney Atkins 's ' The Night ' If You 're Going Through Hell '

- Sitting in the back of very used minivan, with the paint chipping and rust under our feet. It had brown wooden panels and a loud squealing noise whenever my mom started it. We could not be happier to have it. This minivan had been generously donated to us from a family who had no need for it anymore. An anonymous family that we did not know. The wind blowing through my hair, the sunset shining in my eyes. I sat there anxiously awaiting to get to our new apartment. A brand new start for my mom and her little family....   [tags: Family, Mother, Wife, Father]

Better Essays
721 words (2.1 pages)

Analysis of Where are you Going, Where Have you Been? by Joyce Carol Oates

- The things we do are what define ourselves. Desperate teenagers tend to make unreasonable decisions trying to fit into society. “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?,” a story written by Joyce Carol Oates relates the story of a young girl that flaunts her beauty which ultimately leads to her abduction. Lost in a fantasy world, Connie, a self-absorbed 15-year-old girl, spends much of her time going out with her friends and meeting older boys. One night, she captures a stranger’s attention and he decides to do whatever it takes to take her with him....   [tags: Fantasy, Teenagers, Stranger]

Better Essays
553 words (1.6 pages)

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates: A Critical Analysis

- “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”: A Critical Analysis Of her hundreds of short stories, Joyce Carol Oates’s “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” continues to be widely discussed among literary critics. In his article “Oates’s Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”, David Gratz claims that Oates’s story can be read as a parable for a young girl’s fear of adulthood. He agrees there is much textual evidence that Connie dreams of her disturbing experience with Arnold Friend and that he is a “psychological projection” (Gratz 55) of her subconscious fears....   [tags: fears, sex, physical metamorphosis]

Better Essays
777 words (2.2 pages)

Critical Analysis of Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? Essay

- What The World Has Done... In "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" the author, Joyce Carol Oates, essentially asserts that the nuances of one's personality are not generated from within, but rather shaped by external circumstances. This is an argument whose justification is abundantly clear in the inner conflict of Connie, the protagonist of the book. The source of that struggle is her unstable relationship with her family, which ultimately results in her identity conflict. As one who always been deprived of father-figure, she feels the need to acquire attention from boys in order to fill that void....   [tags: American Literature Joyce Carol Oates]

Better Essays
854 words (2.4 pages)