Where Are You Going Were Have You Been

Sandra Kolinsky
Professor Hillringhouse
Comp II
March 2, 2011
Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been
    Joyce Carol Oates “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” is about a fifteen year old girl who struggles to escape reality and portrays herself as a beauty queen.   The young girl, Connie, is hell-bent on not becoming like her mother or sister.   She seems to be at constant odds with her mother, makes fun of her sister and her relationship with her father is non-existent, as he is always working.   She never thinks of a world beyond her doorstep until Arnold Friend arrives. Arnold Friend represents an evil force sent by the devil or he may be the devil himself.   Arnold gradually and insistently convinces Connie to join him. She makes the ultimate decision to sacrifice herself to save the lives of her family, but by doing so she will not achieve her own salvation.
    The story begins by introducing the reader to Connie. She spends the summer going to town with friends, listening to music and meeting boys.   She and her friends share similar interests in boys; “they would lean together and whisper and laugh secretly” (Oates, ).   Like many teens, Connie seemingly lives two lives: one that her family sees, the other she projects to her peers. She frequently tests her limits by making her parents believe she was with her friends shopping or seeing a movie, when instead she “sometimes crosses the highway, ducking fast across the busy road, to a drive in restaurants where kids hung out” (Oates, ). It is here where Connie will learn that her rush to grow up is foolish and that she is trying to jump into a word that she knows nothing about and that is potentially dangerous.   It is also at the drive-in restaurant that Connie first shows her interest in Arnold.   She is leaving with a boy named Eddie to take pleasure in the freedom she has for the moment and to get something to eat. Connie notices Arnold as she walks with Eddie to his car: “Connie slit her eyes...