Review Of Joyce Carol Oates 'Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'

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Joyce Carol Oates' “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” Fantasy Vs. Reality “We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality” (Iris Murdoch). Sometimes perceptions can be completely opposite to reality. Individuals can create illusions on what they think is real. The story of Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” shows false perception verses reality. Connie uses her attitude and the way she looks to attract boys, however she is blind to the reality of the society she lives in. Connie is currently living in a fantasy but when she finds herself trapped by adversity she starts seen her scary reality. This story has a lot of symbolic element that play a big role in this…show more content…
“She was fifteen and she had a quick nervous giggling habit of craning her neck to glance into mirrors or checking other people’s faces to make sure her own was all right” (Oates 195). Connie has a sister that she also looked at her in a different way since she is not attractive like her. “Her sister June was twenty-four and still lived at home. She was so plain and chunky and steady that Connie had to hear her praised all the time by her mother and her mother’s sisters” (Oates 196). Another problem that Connie had was that she didn’t have a strong male authority in her life. “Their father was away at work most of the time and when he came home he wanted supper and he read the newspaper at supper and after supper he went to bed” (Oates 196). With this attitude Connie is discovering her sex appeal and realizes the ability she has to attract boys by acting, dressing and doing her hair in a certain way. This new attitude is rebelling against her parents. Connie’s vanity gets her in a lot of trouble, she goes out with friends knowing that whatever she does she won’t be held accountable for. She also doesn’t listen to her mother. Sometimes she wishes her mother was dead. “She makes me want to throw up sometimes” (Oates 196). This young lady tries to explore new areas to find a new side of herself, and in the search to mature sexually she puts her at a dangerous…show more content…
Oates projects Arnold as the opposite force to Connie’s fantasy world. He wants to take full advantage of Connie and nothing will stop him. Arnold last name Friend is close to the word Fiend being defined as Satan; the devil or any evil spirit; demon. His a predator and his determined to take Connie even if it means by force. Arnold begins to put his plan into motion by first flooding her head with music, “her face gleaming with a joy that had nothing to do with Eddie or even this place; it might have been the music” (Oates 196). His looks and attitude represents his dark and shady persona. His hair is “shaggy, shabby black hair that looked crazy as a wig” (Oates 197). His hair contrast to Connie’s golden blonde hair which symbolized innocence. Oates emphasized how Arnold’s hair is looking like a wig. Everything about him attracted Connie “He wasn’t tall, only an inch or two taller than she would be if she came down to him. Connie liked the way he was dressed, which was the way all of them dressed: tight faded jeans stuffed into black, scuffed boots, a belt that pulled his waist in and showed how lean he was, and a white pullover shirt that was a little soiled and showed the hard small muscles of his arms and shoulders (Oates 201). Arnold’s description represents a sort of fake cover-up on who Arnold really is. Also the sunglasses Arnold wearing serve as another symbol. This sunglasses are describe

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