The Underlying Themes Of Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been

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What’s Really There?:
The Underlying Themes of Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been

Joyce Carol Oates’ famous short story presents a compelling tale of a girl, Connie, and her certain decisions she chooses depending on her setting and the people around her. As the story progresses, one of these lifestyles becomes overwhelming, and she becomes unable to effectively control her situation. Even though the story appears to be a shallow tale of a girl making poor life decisions, many underlying themes provoke different interpretations and critical thinking towards understanding a deeper meaning to what is presented. (Schilb 1407) There are many problems created by Connie’s behavior, and to better understand her actions, it’s important to
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Oates never directly states this is a true assumption in her story, but it is an open theory that would cause the reader to view these characters in different ways and allow an entire new look of how Arnold strategized to take capture of Connie. Ellis’s theory states:
The Eddie/Ellie hypothesis also explains how Arnold knows so much about Connie, including a long list of her friends ' names. Eddie/Ellie would have been able to learn all this information during his few hours with Connie, along with her address. (After this investigative work, a simple stakeout would suffice the abductors until Connie 's family had left her all alone in the house, a likelihood A. R. Coulthard has established in his own realistic reading of the story.)
When the two men arrive at Connie 's house, Ellie again takes care to hide his face from Connie, but not because he is "kinda shy," as Arnold says. At the diner, he did not want to be recognized as middle-aged; now, he does not want to be recognized as Eddie. Thus, tike Arnold, he wears sunglasses. He balances his radio against his shoulder in order to block his face. Furthermore, he adjusts his shirt so that "the very tips of the collar pointed out past his chin as if they were protecting him.
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This theory comes from the numbers that Arnold cites to Connie: 33,19,17. (Schilb 1412) Arnold announces that these numbers are a secret code but Oates never elaborates as to what these numbers actually mean. Mark Robson provided an analysis of these numbers. The book of Judges is the thirty-third book from the end of the Old Testament. Judges 19:17 states “17 When he looked up and saw the traveler in the city square, the old man asked, “Where are you going, and where do you come from?”” (Holman Christian Standard Bible. Judges 19:17) The nineteenth chapter of Judges also tells the story of a Levite whose concubine was taken and raped. So this all relates to the sexual deviancy credited to the character Arnold and his associate, Ellie.

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