Books and Movies Reviews

Joyce carol oates whereare you going where have you been

Joyce Carol Oates short story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been" takes up many troubling issues. Connie, the main charcter, who is fifteen exhibits the confusing, often superficial behavior typical of a teenage girl facing the difficult transition from girlhood to womanhood. She is rebellious, vain, self-centered, and deceitful. She is caught between her roles as a daughter, friend, sister, and object of sexual desire, uncertain of which one represents the real her; "Everything about her had two sides to it, one for home and one for anywhere that was not home(426)." She is deeply romantic, as shown by her awareness of popular song lyrics, but she is interested more in the concept of having a boyfriend than the boyfriend himself. Arnold Friend, young Connie’s abductor and probable rapist-murderer, displays a satanic identity. Arnold is the incarnation of Connie’s unconscious erotic desires and dreams, but in an uncontrollable nightmare form. The whole terrifying episode involving Arnold Friend is itself a dream, a fantasy that Connie falls into on a sleepy Sunday afternoon when she is left alone in the house and decides to spend the entire day drying her hair.
First of all, Oates has made the willing suspension of disbelief somewhat easier by imparting to her story a dreamlike, unreal atmosphere that makes it possible for the reader to view Connie’s scary encounter with Arnold as a dream-vision or ;daymare;, one in which Connie’s intense desire for total sexual experience runs headlong into her fear of such experience. For all the talk of sex and boys in the story, we have no clear evidence that Connie is not still a virgin. Sophisticated, yes but only in the most superficial ways, involving the heightening of her physical charms triple-x sex. Connie's horror at Arnold Friend’s direct solicitation ;I’ll come inside you where it’s all secret and you’ll give in to me and you’ll love me(433…


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