Nowhere, Nowhere Essay

Submitted By kjv14
Words: 1704
Pages: 7

Nowhere, Nowhere: An Analysis of Oates’ “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been? In their teenage years, many girls have a rude, self obsessed mentality, and do not really care for anyone but themselves. This mentality is not necessarily their true identity, but rather a wall they put up to shield themselves from the outside world. In many situations, people try to act older and more mature than they actually are by sometimes doing or saying things to create this illusion; but in most cases, the choices they make catch up with them and result in unwanted and unneeded consequences. In Joyce Carol Oates’ story “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?” the main character Connie is used to show the mindset of a teenage girl, and how many young people create an outer persona to protect their true identities from the real world. The story shows how the evil of the world can expose and destroy this identity. Connie’s adolescent behavior is shown from the very beginning of the story. Oates depicts Connie by saying, “She had a quick nervous giggling habit of craning her neck to glance into mirrors” (312). Connie has the need to maintain this outer persona that she has created by making sure that she looks her best at all times. Her mother disapproves of this trait and constantly tells Connie to “stop gawking at yourself” (312) only to be ignored completely by Connie. This shows the reader the first signs of Connie’s narcissistic personality, and her carelessness for others. She is constantly making sure that her outer appearance is pleasing, and not caring about other people’s feelings, but rather what they think of her. Connie is not only self centered, she is also quite judgemental. She describes her sister June by saying, “She was just so plain and chunky and steady…” (312). Connie judges her sister June, among others, and bases her opinions on them off of the fact that they do not have similar personalities or tastes as she does; thus, in Connie’s mind, this automatically makes a person weird, and distinguishes him or her as someone who should be looked down on. When Connie’s parents tell her about the barbecue, “Connie said no, rolling her eyes, to let her mother know just what she thought of it” (315). Connie really only cares about her wants and not the wants or feelings of others around her. “In the back seat sat poor old June all dressed up as if she didn’t know what a barbecue was” (315). Connie once again judges her sister June and her clothing choices, only because she does something different than what Connie would do.
When Connie acts out in ways that make her seem older and more mature, we are witnessing Connie create her false persona. “She wore a pullover jersey blouse that looked one way when she was at home and another way when she was away from home” (313). Connie shows a sort of rebellious side of her outer persona by dressing and acting differently. She dresses in a way that makes her look desirable to boys, as she does when she and her friends “went across the highway, ducking fast across the busy road, to the drive-in restaurant where the older kids hung out” (313). Connie wants to seem as if she is more mature than she looks by acting like an adult, but all she is doing is creating a false version of herself. After her family leaves for the barbecue, Connie listens to music in her bedroom until “she heard a car coming up the drive” (315). At this point Connie knows it could not be her family returning so soon, and begins worrying once again about her appearance. She does not seem to care who the unknown person is, or why they are pulling into her driveway, the only thing Connie is worried about is whether or not she looks presentable. “Her heart began to pound and her fingers snatched her hair, checking it, and she whispered, ‘Christ. Christ,’ wondering how bad she looked” (316). This begins to show, although not completely, that Connie is a bit nervous to find out who the