Professor Krista Ferguson
08 May 2013
Where are you going, Where have you been?
. Each decade is remembered for something, the sixties was the age of young people, and almost 70 million people out of 177 million populations were young. Fashion was predominant in young people. The music industry started flourishing; the industry had several popular singers such as Elvis and Bob Dylan. It also had several popular bands like Beach Boys and Beatles. In politics, the most popular President John F. Kennedy got assassinated and Lyndon Johnson became president. The civil rights movement made great changes in American society in the 1960s. Similarly, American women were going through modernization, they wanted to be independent, and did not want to stay in the home. The story “Where are you going, Where have you been?” was written due to changes occurring in society in the 1960s. This story, written by Joyce Carol Oats, was released in 1966. Throughout the story, Oats explores adolescent obsession, maturity, carelessness, the mother and daughter relationship, a girl’s seduction and entrapment by a disturbed man.
In the story, Connie is fifteen years old; she is the younger of two daughters in the family. She is prettier than her older sister, she always looks at her face in the mirror, and her mother does not like it. Connie’s older sister is twenty-four years old, works as a secretary in a school, saves money, helps her family, and is an obedient girl to her mom. On the other hand, Connie is focused on clothes, looks, going out, hanging out with friends, and watching movies. However, Connie does not care for her mom’s orders or instructions, but her mom is always nagging her to follow the footsteps of her older sister.
On one Sunday, Connie’s parents and her sister go to the barbeque party and Connie stays in the home. Connie washes her hair, goes outside to dry her hair, comes back inside once she feels hot, and turns on the radio to listen to the music of Bob Dylan. While listening to the music, she hears the noise of a car stopping to her driveway; she sees a golden convertible car from her window and the driver of that car is the same man she saw when she was with her friend. The driver of the car comes to the main door and introduces himself as Arnold Friend. He also introduces his friend Ellie, who is sitting in the car. Arnold and Connie start talking about Bob Dylan’s song, which is playing in Arnold’s car, and Connie is so inspired by this song. Later, Arnold asks Connie to go out for a ride, she says to him, she does not know him, and will not go with him on a ride. Suddenly he starts indicating that he knows where her family is right now and what they are doing. He adds that he will hurt her family if she does not go with him. She tries to call the police due to her great fear. Arnold threatens her saying he will come inside if she tries to call the police again. Finally, Connie decides to go out with him to save her family and she does not know whether she will come back to the home.
Connie is very obsessed with her pretty face; she always keeps looking at her face in the mirror. For example, “she knew she was pretty and that was everything” (318). She is prettier than her older sister, is proud of it, and sometimes makes fun of her sister. As a teenager, she is obsessed with fashionable clothes; is very careful with what she wears and checks herself in the mirror. Connie is a different girl in the home than she is away from the home. For instance “She wore a pull-over jersey blouse that looked one way when she was at home and another way when she was away from home” (1082). Her experiments with creating a sexy appearance and attracting boys in the local diner serve as her attempt to explore new worlds as well as a new side of herself. She is obsessed to go outside and hang out with friends. In fact, she is exploring a way