Analysis Of Joyce Carol Oates 's ' Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been? ``

1391 Words Nov 29th, 2016 6 Pages
Joyce Carol Oates is known for writing demented stories about adolescent girls craving attention from the opposite sex and trying and failing to find their path in life. Her most popular story with that such plot is “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?” In this story, a fifteen-year-old girl named Connie who, like every teenage girl, loves spending weekend nights in town and attention from the opposite sex. However, her innocence and vulnerability eventually lead her into the trap of a rapist and murderer named Arnold Friend. While most dark stories rely mainly on setting and circumstance to entice and shock its readers, Joyce Carol Oates relied on symbolism to give this story its eerie tone. The three main symbols in “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?” are the names of both the protagonist and antagonist, the numbers on Arnold Friend’s car, and the music that is played.
The protagonist of “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?” has a name that suggests that she is easily manipulated or “conned.” Remove the R’s from the antagonist’s name—Arnold Friend—and that spells “An Old Fiend,” which is a term used to describe the devil. Like any American teenage girl, Connie lives a carefree life, loves and maintains her outer beauty, and fights with her mother. At the beginning of the story, Connie is shallow and conceited to the point where she claimed she would “like to die” when her mother criticizes her (Slimp 179). According to Slimp’s article, her…

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