Where are you going, where have you been - Loiuse

English 102 - Literature for Composition - Professor Stepp

09/15/2014

Where are you going, where have you been - Loiuse

Where are you going, Where have you been " by Joyce Carol Oates' story is about a young girl, at the edge of adulthood. Just like any teenager she sneaks around, going to a drive-in restaurant to meet boys rather than to the movies like she told her family. She is rebellious and flippant and does not have a good relationship with her mother. She seeks to makes herself sexually attractive to explore he new self but her search for independence has a tragic outcome as she is yanked out of adolesence and places her firmly into adulthood.
This habit of always needing to feel that she is beautiful is an indication that Connie is suffering from insecurity, or having an “unstable sense of self.” This insecurity makes her completely vulnerable to the will of others, and is one of the things that eventually leads her to run off with Arnold Friend at the end of the story.
The character of Arnold Friend brings the magic of the evil type to the story. After much scrutiny it seems that Arnold is not just a simple villain. He takes great interest in Connie and he initially demonstrates his power by telling her details about herself as well as detailing what her family was doing. However, there is much more to Arnold. His supernatural abilities, though not particularly flashy, are definitely present.
A closer examination reveals that Arnold Friend may be a personification of the devil. One hint is the fact that Connie could not figure out what his real age was; the devil’s reputation is that of agelessness. At first she describes him as a “boy” at the restaurant, then after she stares at him she realizes that he is much older than her when “lines appeared at the corners of his mouth”. although he pretends to be “a couple of years older”. She also notices that it seemed as if his hair was a wig. However, the most solid evidence that Arnold is the devil is the awkwardness of his stance. Connie noticed that it seemed that “One of his boots was at a strange angle, as if his foot wasn’t in it. It pointed out to the left, bent at the ankle.”
As the story climaxes and comes to an end, the extent of Arnold’s devilish power becomes evident as Connie, interestingly, succumbs to his bidding and goes with him. This follows the premise that the devil does not take a soul as he has the power to do; he entices the person to give it to him instead.
Arnold friend was the obvious villain, while Connie was the distinguishable protagonist with a rebellious spirit. Like any fairytale, she jumped headlong into trouble, leading to her tragic end. In the conclusion of this story, Connie was taken somewhere from which she could not return. Though she was not the only one to blame, Connie had become a different person to her family than who she was to the world. In one sense, Connie had already sold her soul to the devil by not being true to herself; Arnold Friend was simply there to collect.