Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? Essay

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? Essay

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In Joyce Carol Oates "where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" the reader is left with a chilling feeling as they read it 's haunting content. In this short story, the theme of fantasy vs. reality is explored through the protagonist Connie 's journey of self-realization as she leaves behind her naive self. Though the story follows Connie closely the third person omniscient point of view allows for developed story as Oates writes a warning to young girls everywhere.
When first reading the reader is met with a dedication before the story begins, “To Bob Dylan.” Though it seems like a silly dedication by a simple fan of his work it is actually apparent once reading the story that the influence of Bob Dylan added an extra layer. Joyce Carol Oates in an interview with the Wall Street Journal said, “The beauty of the song is that you can never quite comprehend it. We know only that something is over: “The lover who just walked out your door / Has taken all his blankets from the floor / The carpet, too, is moving under you.” A powerful evocation of losing control, of losing everything.”(Wall Street Journal) This is a perfect description of the story as it about Connie fully realising herself as she loses who she was painting herself to be.
Throughout the story, Connie is portrayed as a naive young girl, around fifteen years old, who is masquerading as a woman. The entirety of the short story shows Connie discovering her sex appeal and creating a new attitude for herself which includes rebelling against her parents. She is just barely beginning her steps into adulthood and instead of easing into is throwing herself into it blindly and falsely. Her search to mature sexually has put her at an unsafe disadvantage. She doesn’t realize i...


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...inally matches her body and she sees things in a new light,
“ She comes to terms with her new found faith and knows there is no turning back ‘My sweet little blue-eyed girl,’ he said in a half-sung sigh that had nothing to do with her brown eyes but was taken up just the same by the vast sunlit reaches of the land behind him and on all sides of him—so much land that Connie had never seen before and did not recognize except to know that she was going to it.”
The impact of those last words is chilling and shows Connie as a new version of herself, and that she is seeing things as they are for the first time. The blinders on her eyes are torn away and she sees what’s around her not just her.
After reading Joyce Carol Oates short story “Where...” the reader is left with a feeling of unease at its heavy subject matter. However it is clear that feeling was intentional

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