In “Where are you going, where have you been”, this story makes me frustrated with the main character Connie. She comes off to me as an immature little girl who wants to live the life of a mature woman, but when faced with reality she is still just a little girl. I felt Connie feels the need to rebel or act a different person when she leaves her house and in a sense lives a double life and has two personalities. In the story the author writes, “She wore a pull-over jersey blouse that looked one way when she was at home and another way when she was away from home” (Oates 325). This was an example of how Connie lived this double life. Connie made herself very vulnerable when she goes out with Eddie and exposes herself as a “woman” when she is not. What I feel is significant about this piece of literature is the story that is being told and the reality behind it.
Many young girls face this kind of reality everyday and don’t have a good outcome. The authors’ intention in the story was to portray a little girl named Connie and show her struggle with adolescence and wanting to become a woman far too fast. The themes that stand out to me in this story are Connie’s constant fantasizing and daydreaming. She is always worried about her appearance and fantasizing about boys, but when it comes down to the reality of actually engaging and being confronted with a man, she reverts to being a child again. Another theme that stands out to me is Connie leaving herself extremely vulnerable. She has her friends’ dad drop them off at a shopping plaza, but sneaks off to a drive in to meet boys. Then she meets with Eddie and hangs out in an alley.
This exposes her to Arnold Friend. She portrays herself with a lot of independence, but when she has the confrontation with him at her house, she tries to scare him away with saying, “But my father’s coming back. He’s coming to get me” (Oates 330). She says this because she is still a little girl and doesn’t quite know how to handle this situation. The reality of this type of story is what makes this piece of literature valuable.
The author wrote a story about a young girl wanting to grow up too fast and puts herself in situations that portrays her independence, but then exposes her vulnerability. As a reader, I felt this story is a reality for many young girls. I think the authors’ goal here was to allow the reader to see what many young girls face and how easy it is to be manipulated by a man who has aggressive attributes. It was very creepy for this man to know everything about Connie when they were never formally introduced, but Connie’s appearance led him to believe she was open to her sexuality than what she really was or could handle.
Oates, Joyce Carol. “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been.” Lit. Eds. Laurie Kirszner and Stephen Mandell. Boston: Wadsworth, 2012. 325-331. Print
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