Essay An Analysis of Oates' Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been

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Forrest Coleman ENGL 1B Prof. Nicole Brown 17 September 2013 I don't know where i am going

When reading the short story, “Where are you going, where have you been?” I stumbled upon a very important theme that is found within. Connie who is the main character, is fifteen years old and is caught up in fantasy versus reality. As humans we are exceptional at creating imagination. When we fantasize about something, it's something that is very unlikely to come true.Fantasy is the distortion of reality, and reality is the real world. In the story portrays and imagines herself as a grown woman, when in reality she isn't. The music that she listens to also has an effect on her behavior because it is confusing Connie on the actual reality of sexual adulthood. In this short story by Joyce Carol Oates, the antagonist is confused between fantasy and reality.
Connie tries her very hardest to portray herself as a grown and matured woman.
She created an alter­ego version of herself because he has pulled off to the naked eye that she is in fact an experienced woman by changing her hairstyle, behavior, and the clothes that she wears. She argues with her family on a regular basis. She also neglects having family time and instead goes to local restaurants to seek out boys shes interested in. Connie has become plastic doll to her family and to herself. In the story Connie pretends to be very experienced with boys. Connie does

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eventually experiment with her sexuality, as such when she enters the alley with Arnold.
Arnold forcefully takes Connie into adulthood at that moment. The author never states if
Arnold is real or not. Connie could be day dreaming, the audience doesn't have a clue if
Arnold could be a psychopath either because of his forceful actions and his weird sense of knowing a lot about Connie, even her name. Oates shows a small spurt of how
Arnold knew a few items about Connie “ Just for a ride, Connie sweetheart”, I never said my name was Connie, she said. But i know what it is, i know your name and all about you” (Oates 465). From that moment on, Connie had about feeling about a guy that knows her when she does not.
Although the audience doesn't know if Arnold is imaginary or not, he most definitely changed Connie’s outlook on adult life. Connie could easily be day dreaming and Arnold could be a sign that she shouldn't try to move so quickly into becoming an adult. Arnold Friend could also be interpreted as a demon who is trying to break her down. He claims that he is around Connies age, but in reality who looks around thirty years old or even older because of the physical characteristics that Oates had described him. This is another point in time where Connie becomes confused with reality and fantasy…