Essay on A Critique Of Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?
Dr. Kathryn Crowther
9 September 2014
A Critique of Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been as an Archetypal Tale
As children, people are told tales that are meant to entertain and educate. These tales introduce children to the complexities of human behavior when trying to make the right decision. Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” is an archetypal tale about fifteen year old Connie who while in this liminal phase of life makes the wrong decision and chooses to go off into thevast world with Arnold Friend. While the ending and the moral of the short story are obscure, this tale has many archetypal characteristics that classify it as an Aesop Fable or Grimm Fairytale. The archetypal elements, found within the short story, can be viewed by analyzing the setting, characters, and structure.
Similarly to many fairytales, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?’ has a picturesque setting in 1960s suburbia. The movie theater and the “drive in restaurant… with a revolving figure of a grinning boy holding a hamburger aloft” are where family and teenagers can congregate and socialize (Oates 6). Within this suburb is Connie’s home, her castle, which holds this beautiful princess that harbors her safety. Her home can be seen as a fortress of solitude during her interactions with Arnold, “She watched herself push the door slowly open as if she were back safe somewhere in the other doorway” (Oates160). She stays within this…