`` Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? Essay

1658 Words Oct 2nd, 2015 7 Pages
If life is full of the unknown, should not the stories that represent and examine the human experience reflect that? The ambiguity of a story with a non-resolution is important in capturing the uncertainness of living, allowing a sense of intellectual satisfaction in knowing that the characters that represent us also face our inability to know the future. It also permits us to observe our own lives when reflecting on our own motivations for interpreting the incomplete ending in a certain way. Three short-stories that capture this practice nicely are John Updike’s “A&P”, Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”, and Raymond Carver’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.” By examining the non-resolution of these three stories, we are able to derive the significance of the vague and unknown ending. A classic example of the unknown ending is John Updike’s “A&P”. Sammy, the story’s nineteen year-old narrator, quits his job after his manager embarrasses a group of teenage girls for shopping in their bathing suits. All the audience is left knowing is that the girls are no longer around when Sammy walks into the parking lot, and that he feels the pressure of his choice because he says, “…my stomach kind of fell as I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter” (Updike 834-835). The only clue we have to his family’s reaction was that he prefaces the moment he begins to check the girls out and his reaction to the manager as “the sad part of…

Related Documents