Essay on Where Are You Going Where Have You Been

Submitted By buzzywuzzy51
Words: 957
Pages: 4

Where are you going, where have you been? Connie and Arnold The main character of Where are you going, where have you been by Joyce Carol Oates is Connie, an average everyday teenage girl who is seeking to find herself. Connie’s behavior is relatable to many teenage girls. She doesn’t get along with her mother and is annoyed by her sister; she enjoys movies, music, and flirting with boys. When she is away from her home and family, she develops into a social light and beams her sexuality. When at home, her sexuality disappears and she acts in a completely different manner. Connie is able to get away with her split personas for some time, but the appearance of Arnold Friend outside her front door forces the two worlds to tragically collide.
Connie fully embraces her sexuality away from home. She has developed a sense for what those around her want, coining different ways to speak, walk and even laugh to make herself sexually appealing. She takes solace in the music dancing around her and often gets lost in the moment. She lives for attention from males and delights in the fact that she can obtain it. In reference to walking past a high school boy who called to her and her friends, the narrator says, “It made them feel good to be able to ignore him” (656). Connie revels in the fact that boys want her and daydreams of her time spent with them. While Connie revels in attention from boys, she also desires the adoration of older men, and given that her absentee father doesn’t provide her much attention, she is vulnerable to the attention of another.
When Connie is finally awarded the attention of an older man, it is anything but rewarding. When Arnold Friend appears he gives her his explicit attention, starting out with a not-so-innocent “Gonna get you baby,” (656) alluding to his dark motives for Connie, she has no idea what is in store for her but is intrigued by this older man. On the day that Arnold comes to “get his baby,” Connie childishly turns down an invitation to a BBQ on the pretext of letting her hair dry in the summer sun and dance to the tunes of the radio. With the crunching of gravel on the driveway, Connie’s greatest dreams, and fears, begin to unravel in a single day. Connie’s obsession with adulthood entails far much more than she could ever have dreamt. She has seen the world of romance through rose-colored glasses and has heard it through music that pumps in her veins. When Arnold pulls up to her front door, she tries to hold onto her façade, but soon any strength she had held onto crumbles in his wake – at first she finds him to be attractive and is drawn into his world. “Connie liked the way he dressed: tight faded jeans stuffed into black, scuffed boots, a belt that was a little soiled and showed the hard small muscles of his arms and shoulders.” (659) She is entranced by his looks, and his golden car draws her in as the writing on the side captivates her. However, as Connie soon realizes that these “boys” really aren’t boys, but men, she begins to feel panicked and a sickening feelings sinks in. “Connie felt a wave of dizziness rise in her at this sight and she stared at him as if waiting for something to change the shock of the moment, make it all right again” (662). The realization that Arnold, and his friend Ellie, are older men, isn’t everything she had hoped and dreamed for is too much for Connie to bear. Arnold overpowers Connie and in her moments of terror, she cries out for…