Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? Essay

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? Essay

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In the story “Where are you going, Where have you been?” by Joyce Carol Oates, the main character, Connie, experiences life not having an actively participating mother or father. Most adolescents struggle with the transition from teen-age years to adulthood. For many, this is where the parents step in. Parents are meant to support and help an adolescent when needed, especially during this difficult transition; however, this is not always true. In Connie’s case, her parents allowed her to make the change alone and endure hard times. As a result, she lacked the values needed to survive. Such values are used to equip a young person for the real world and the tragedies that come with it. As seen in “Where are you going, Where have you been?”, Connie was a victim of poor guidance and empty judgment. The dysfunctional family’s behavior was reflected in Connie. Her mother envied her, and her father was not an active figure in her life. Connie 's relationship with her mother was described as the reverse of an ideal relationship between mother and child. In their relationship they have a difficult time getting along on a regular basis. There were times when Connie wished her mother were dead and everything was all over. In fact, Connie was indirectly taught to search for death—“wished…herself was dead” and, in turn, acted rebellious. Since no cooperation existed between either party, family progress was shunned. The lack of a father figure also effected Connie’s development. Her father took a backseat in her life due to his frequent absences—he was not active and fills his time with work and when at home, he ate and went directly to bed. With her father never around, she felt a sense of abandonment. Such a lurking feeling explai...


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...as still charmed by him. As she began to feel uneasy, Connie could have used her intuition to realize that he was trouble. Once she had been engaged by Arnold, her life was over. The influences on Connie and her lack of instilled reasoning led to her down fall. Her family’s fragmented nature was echoed in her actions; consequently, she was unable to communicate with her parents, and she was never was able to learn anything of significance. She felt abandoned and rejected, because no one took the initiative to teach her how to make good decisions. Connie was unable to mature until she was faced with death and self sacrifice. In the end, her situation made it difficult for her to think and reason beyond the position she was in. By not being able apply insight, she fell into Arnold Friends lure. Misguidance by the parents strongly contributed to Connie’s death.

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