“Where are You Going, Where have You Been” by Joyce Carol Oates

Oates’s “Where are You Going, Where have You Been” is a story about a teenage girl Connie, who appears to have two sides. Connie behaves differently while at home in comparison to the way she behaves while outside her home. She rejects to play a role of a good daughter to her mother and a good sister to her elder sister June. Instead, Connie is interested in exploring her adolescence. She loves hanging out with her friends, listening to music, and admiring herself in the mirror. In fact, Connie gets pleasure when boys and men admire her. Connie wants to be attractive for older men. However, when an older man Arnold Friend shows up, she becomes terrified.

In the story Oates depicts Connie as a character who has two sides. Connie shows one side while at home and shows the other while outside her home. The two sides are different from each other. The side that Connie demonstrates while at home is characterized by childish behavior: she does not want to do anything besides admiring herself in the mirror. While at home, her desire to explore her sexuality is hidden. However, while outside her home, her sexuality comes out. In a company of the opposite sex she likes behaving like a mature woman. She wants men to notice her. Connie loves going out at night so that she can meet boys. The story describes a scene when Connie being in the company of her girlfriend accepts an invitation of a teenage boy to buy her some food. She spends quite some time with the boy and this makes her fantasize about love the following day.

The difference between these characters is that at-home Connie is childish and introvert, while outside-home Connie is mature and sociable. However, the two characters are alike in a way that both are naive. This trait is brought out in several situations e.g. when Connie feels bad for leaving her friend alone or when she shies looking at the boy with shaggy hair the night she went out with Eddie. The trait also comes out when Arnold shows up at her home and she becomes afraid of the idea of riding with him.