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

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

Length: 1146 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview


Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” is a modern
interpretation of the classic narrative of evil tempting innocence. Oates’ version of the devil
allegory combines this Christian model of temptation with contemporary secular society. Connie
is a pretty fifteen year-old girl, beginning the process of maturation into adulthood. She begins to
become aware of her ability to act of her own volition, but her naivete renders her ignorant to
Arnold Friend’s layers of deception. Connie’s blindness is the pretext of her loss of innocence
and subsequent fall from grace.
Connie plays with the idea of adulthood, but at fifteen, she is still too young for her
actions to be deemed acceptable by her parents so Connie lives a dual life. She is one person at
home and someone completely different when she leaves. She unbuttons her blouse, adds some
sensuality to her stride, wears lipstick and adds a flirtation to her laugh when she leaves her
home and family. The narration implies that Connie experiments with sexuality, spending hours
with boys in alleyways, but her conception of sex, love, and boys is highly romanticized and
naive, “Her mind slipped over onto thoughts of the boy she had been with the night before and
how nice he had been, how sweet it always was, not the way someone like June would suppose
but sweet, gentle, the way it was in movies and promised in songs,” (122). Her idealized
conception of her encounters highlight her fixation on a kind of lived fantasy blinding her from
reality. Connie acts out mini-romances with boys that she compares to dreamy representations in
movies and songs. However, Connie’s preoccupation with boys has nothing to do with the
individual bo...


... middle of paper ...


... opened so much
that she omnisciently sees herself walk out to Arnold Friend and her inevitable ruin. Connie steps
outside of her house, marking her fall from grace, innocence lost, and the awakening of
consciousness.
The anthropomorphizing of a figure of absolute evil is archetypical -- from Satan in
Milton’s Paradise Lost, to Mephistopholes in Goethe’s Faust. The grotesqueness of Arnold
Friend lies in Connie’s blindness; she misses what any reader could easily miss. Through Oates’
depiction of an incarnate Devil preying on a contemporary youth, she captures the timelessness
of the reality and presence of evil. Oates deviates from Paradise Lost and Faust in that there is no
redemption for Connie. Her twisted fate is all there is for her. This nihilistic close leaves us with
a voided sentiment, but that seems to be just what the Devil would want.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been By Joyce Carol Oates Essay

- Age plays a major role in overall mental maturity. In the short story, “Where are you going, Where have you been” by Joyce Carol Oates, describes how a young naïve teenage girl gets herself in a peculiar situation. The fifteen-year-old girl meets a few older guys that appear to look younger but are not. Connie experiences a traumatic moment when she encounters an older stalker and doesn’t know what to do. At that moment, Connie was easily manipulated and persuaded. As a growing teenager, she yearned for the attention of older guys; which put her in situations in which she was not mature enough to understand what was happening....   [tags: Joyce Carol Oates, Short story, Adolescence]

Strong Essays
1277 words (3.6 pages)

Where Are You Going Where Have You Been By Joyce Carol Oates Essay

- In the Short story “Where Are You Going Where Have You Been” written by Joyce Carol Oates we are introduced with the protagonist of the story Connie a fiffteen year old girl. Connies character is a teenage girl who views herself as an adult who pays little attention to authority given by her parents. Connie continuously disobeys her parents and thanks to her “goodie-goodie” older sister is allowed to go out late at night. The story begins with Connie 's mother scolding at her for admiring herself in the mirror....   [tags: Fiction, Short story, Joyce Carol Oates]

Strong Essays
2118 words (6.1 pages)

Analysis Of Joyce Carol Oates 's ' Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been '

- “ An Incarnation of evil “ Joyce Carol Oates short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” follows the story of a 15-year-old girl, in the summer of the late 1960’s named Connie; who loves to act older than she actually is. And by doing this, she attracts the wrong kind of attention, in other words, she succumbs to her own vanities and insecurities. It is clear that the portrayal of Arnold Friend represents an incarnation of evil or Satan himself, who tries to lure Connie into his world of sex, drugs, and false promises....   [tags: Joyce Carol Oates, Short story, Devil]

Strong Essays
1235 words (3.5 pages)

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

- Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been by Joyce Carol Oates Is Arnold Friend the Devil in disguise in Joyce Carol Oates' short story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" If one were to look at the facts surrounding the actual event this story was based on, any assumption that "Friend" was anything but a man would be thrown out due to logic. However, if one were to look at the story alone, he could concede that Friend is indeed the Devil or at least the Devil's angel. First, there is the physical description of Arnold Friend....   [tags: Papers Joyce Oates Going Essays]

Strong Essays
612 words (1.7 pages)

Joyce Carol Oates' Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? Essay

- Joyce Carol Oates' "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" Every person comes face to face at some point in life with vital decisions. Some of the decisions are minor ones, while others can bring turning points in life. In Joyce Carol Oates' "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?' she displays a particular instant in the main character's life. This character, Connie was caught in the difficult transition from her youth and innocence to a doubtful future. Throughout the story Connie alternates between two very different sides of her personality, one side where she is innocent and young, and the other where she is mature....   [tags: Where Going Been Oates Joyce Essays]

Strong Essays
659 words (1.9 pages)

Joyce Carol Oates' Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been? Essays

- Connie, the main character in Joyce Carol Oates' "Where Are You Going. Where Have You Been" is a fifteen-year-old girl, just realizing her beauty. It is summer vacation, and she is spending her time either with boys or daydreaming about them. Connie is a typical teenage girl with a desperate need for independence. She does not get along with her mother, and her father is seldom around. He works a great deal of the time, and when he comes home, he likes to eat and go to bed. Connie has a girlfriend who she enjoys going to the mall with....   [tags: Joyce Oates Literature Novel Analysis]

Strong Essays
1214 words (3.5 pages)

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

- Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been by Joyce Carol Oates In Joyce Carol Oates story, a teenage girl named Connie was stripped of her innocence. " Gonna get you baby"( 497).This chilling line is what the devil said to Connie the first time Connie came in contact with him which foreshadows of things to come. This one comment clearly points to a situation where Connie would be taken from a safe haven of innocence. She would be TAKEN, not simply invited. Connie was a regular teenage girl set in the 1960's who wanted to rebel against her parents and authority....   [tags: Papers Going Been Oates Essays Papers]

Strong Essays
1549 words (4.4 pages)

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

- Woven into the twisted short story by Joyce Carol Oates “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” stands a figure of demonic proportions; a man whose mere presence develops into an ominous fear, bringing with him a thickness of anxiety and an eerie sense of premature death. While her parents are away on a Sunday afternoon, Connie is approached by a strange man named Arnold Friend who is determined to seduce her and steal her away. Rather than use force, Arnold Friend insinuates his way into Connie’s mind and subdues her vulnerable and emerging sexuality....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Devil Representation]

Strong Essays
1248 words (3.6 pages)

Essay about Where are you Going? Where Have you Been? by Joyce Carol Oates

- Where Are You Going, Where have you been. is a short story written by Joyce Carol Oates. The 75 year old American author and professor at Princeton University, introduce the story of 15 year old Connie who is rebelling against her mother’s whishes. A very arrogant and selfish girl that in her world the only thing that matters is how many heads she can turn when walking into a room. Through the story life gives her a test, to confront Arnold Friend, the antagonist of the story; who possesses a nefarious power beyond her own experience....   [tags: arrogance, Selfish, inmature]

Strong Essays
1090 words (3.1 pages)

The Transition from Childhood to Adulthood in Joyce Carol Oates' Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

- The Transition from Childhood to Adulthood in Joyce Carol Oates' "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" All people experience changes in their life. Some of these changes are small such as the passing from one grade to another in school. Other changes are more intense, such as the transition from childhood to adulthood. In Joyce Carol Oates. ?Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?. Oates goes into depth regarding the transition from being a carefree, innocent child to adulthood. In the short story ?Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?....   [tags: Where Going Been Oats Joyce Essays Papers]

Strong Essays
623 words (1.8 pages)