Joyce Carol Oates`s Short Story

The story ‘Where are you going, where have you been? ’ is a story about a girl about fifteen years of age and having behavioral problem originated from her poor relationship with her mother. She is described in the story as stubborn, rebellious, self-centered, and vane. The story is a tale of insecure woman and romantic but a skilled flirt; and she is drawn in a situation where she could not handle. Connie’s relation with her family and the way she thinks of them shows they were not close.

Connie seemed to lament the way her mother would treat her and her older sister June to the point that she “wished her mother was dead and she herself was dead and it was all over. ” She lamented to her friends, “She makes me want to be thrown up some times. ” Connie at fifteen still has childish behavior perhaps typical for young woman like her, showing little concern with house works as her mind was all filled with trashy day dreams.

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Connie’s behavior though seemed to be very selfish as she cares only of her looks and her own happiness as if she was her own world.

She is less interested in family relationship as she would rather go with her friends than going with her family, or prefer to just listen to music. Her behavior is quite a little less to be described as a spoiled brat. She seemed to lack positive traits particularly family values. There might have some reasons for these.

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First, her mother seemed to show favoritism as she is often compared to her older sister. Her ways and action are viewed as un-acceptable without considering that she is only fifteen and surely needs guidance. Her mother can only appreciate the simple or maybe almost naive orientation of her older sister June.

Second, her father does not care of them, as when he comes home, he only cares for the supper, newspaper and his bed. There seems to have no legitimate authority except her mother’s voice always scolding her which to her, “she had a high breathless, amused, voice that made everything she said a little forced. ” The way Connie thinks of her self shows that she was not positively motivated to have a more meaningful outlook in life which at her age, she suppose to have already. Her mind is full of fantasies about someone she meets and the imagination that comes along with it.

Her relations with her family have not helped or motivated her toward having a more mature attitude and outlook in life. John Updike`s Emphasis on Marriage relates to larger American issues. In other words, do you think the marriages he portrays result from certain social conditions typical of the U. S.? The novel “Separating” was about a couple who had lived together for quite long years, a couple with four young children who seemed to be aware of how their parent’s relation ships are going on over some years of the married life.

Richard and Joan had been married for quite long years already as they have four young children who were all in school and seemed to have capability of understanding the situation which their family faces. The novel did not mention exactly why Richard and Joan’s marriage come to that point that it was not working well for each other any more except that “they felt they no longer love each other. ” Richard seemed to just short of saying that all those years of living together under one roof was just pretensions which was merely for the sake of the children.

But now the situation has grown worse that requires him to make decision to put an end with all these pretentious relation ships. Certainly, Richards wants to be happy. He might have thought it, he deserve happiness and this is now just the right time to reveal the situation to their children. So he announced that bad news while all the kids were gathered at the table for the post welcome celebration of his daughter Judith’s arrival from England. As he revealed his decision, his children seemed to be prepared to hear the bad news as they have not shown hysterical or any strong reaction.

Richard must have thought that they understood the situation that everything will come this way which separating would just be the best option. That their dad will leave them to find his happiness in the comforts of another woman which he has already found. Richard feels comforted by the mild reactions of his children as if they had accepted it that the family which they found warm embrace, comforts when they are hurts or having problems, love, care, safety, affection, and shared laughter that only intact family can provide, now stand to break up.

But behind the mild reaction and seemingly prepared feelings, as Richard bent to kiss his son good bye, “turned and with wet chicks embraced him and gave him a kiss, on the lips, passionate as woman, and in his father’s ear as he moaned one word, the crucial intelligent word “why”? John Updike has powerfully related his novel to larger American social issues affecting the society by emphasizing the consequence of divorce among children and their family that cares for them.

Updike also strongly demonstrated the emotional struggles, and the pains the children suffer when their parents come to a point of making a decision of separating. Updike was also able to point out that children are innocent of their parents’ problems and they are victims because their parents instead of cultivating their relationship opted to find their happiness in the comforts of another. Work Cited Updike, John. “Separating” American Since Mid-Century Updike, John. “Where are You Going, Where Have You Been? ” American since Mid-Century

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Joyce Carol Oates`s Short Story. (2017, Mar 30). Retrieved from

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