Theme Of Reality In Joyce Carol Oates Where Are You Going Where Have You Been?

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In Joyce Carol Oates "where Are You Going Where Have You Been?" the reader is left with a chilling feeling as they read it's haunting content. In this short story the theme of fantasy vs. reality is explored through the protagonist Connie's journey of self realization as she leaves behind her naive self. Though the story follows Connie closely the third person omniscient point of view allows for a more developed story. Throughout the story Connie is portrayed as a naive young girl, around fifteen years old, who is masquerading as a woman. The entirety of the short story shows Connie discovering her sex appeal and creating a new attitude for herself which includes rebelling against her parents. She is just barely beginning her steps into adulthood and instead of easing into is throwing herself into it blindly and falsely. Her search to mature sexually has put her at an unsafe disadvantage. She doesn’t realize it but she is stuck in a fantasy world which she mistakes for reality. Her appearance makes her think her mind is as equally mature as her body.…show more content…
Throughout the story music can been seen in each scene in which Connie is masquerading about with her facade on. With music Connie feels safe and finds herself leaning on it as a crutch to escape from reality,"The music was always in the music in a church service, it was something to depend upon." (6) Later in the story Arnold Friend uses music to trick Connie into having a false sense of security. When Connie turns off her own music she hears the music spilling from Arnold's car and she is quickly ensnared like a mouse in a glue trap, she finds false comfort in the rhythm. The music in this scene is reality tempting her into the real world through false pretenses. Music stops and so does her fantasy world. When the music is turned off she quickly becomes aware of her situation and the training wheels are ripped
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