Critics On Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?
Joyce Carol Oates was born in 1938 and wrote “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” in 1966 . She is a famous America author and had won many awards. Oates was raised in the working-class farming community of Millersport, New York. She took on her grandmother talents who loves writing. The story set in America in the sixties .The background in this story are Connie’s house, shopping plaza and restaurants.
The story starts in a summer when a fifteen years old Connie spent her time in the house and hangout with her friends .One night, she went to a drive-in restaurant with her friends when a guy makes a threatening signal to her in the parking lot .She thinks nothing of it until one day when the guy make an appearance at her house when all her family attend a barbecue at an aunt’s house. The weird guy introduced himself as Arnold Friend and his friend Ellie Oscar, he kept showing off his gold jalopy to Connie. He ask Connie to join him for a ride. When Connie refused, Arnold began threatening her and her family. Connie realized that Arnold is older than her and became more sexually explicit and violent. She tried to call the police but failed .In the end ,she join Arnold and leave the house .
“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” renders the theme of sexuality. The sixties is a period where sexuality struggled and were questioned. Arnold Friend is symbolized as a strong male character that Connie must obey even when she is at her own home. Connie is a weak girl and became a victim to Arnold, this indicates the women’s status in that era. The protagonist in the story is Connie. She is a pretty fifteen years-old girl and enjoy herself with her friends more than her own family. Connie was targeted by Arnold as a victim and in the end of the story she finally followed him .Arnold Friend is in the middle of thirties ,a very dangerous threat and seems full of wits. He successfully convinced Connie into riding his car after threatening her. Next is Ellie Oscar ,Arnold’s friend .He did nothing but listening to his transistor in the gold jalopy. Connie described him as a forty years old guy. Another character is Connie’s sister, June which is totally different from her. She is twenty-four years old and worked as a secretary in Connie’s high school. She is plain and her mother adore June more than her.
Joyce Carol Oates used a third-person view omniscient and gave us a clear vision on the story however it’s largely told from Connie’s point of view about her feeling and thought. Oates used simple vocabulary and it is readable for everyone, she wrote this story very in a straight-forward styles. She also used a very simple and catchy title. However ,she left this story hanging without revealing what will happen to Connie or her family leaving the readers puzzled and free to assume.