Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

1487 words - 6 pages

During the teenage years they no longer want to be labeled the “child; matter of fact, they have a strong desire to rebel against the family norms and move quickly into adulthood. This transition and want for freedom can be a very powerful and frightening thing as there are evils in this world that cannot be explained. Most parents try to understand and give their teens certain freedoms, but at what expense? Joyce Oates gives us a chilly story about a teenager that wanted and craved this freedom of adulthood called “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”. This is a haunting story of a young girl by the name of Connie who gives us a glimpse of teenager transitioning from childhood with the need for freedom and the consequences of her actions. Connie is described as a very attractive girl who did not like her role in the family unit. She was the daughter who could not compare to her older sister and she felt her Mom showed favoritism towards her sister. Connie is your average teen who loves music, going out with friends, and she likes the attention she receives from boys. During this time, Connie is also growing into her sexuality and is obsessing with her looks as she wants and likes to be noticed by the opposite sex. Her sexual persona and need to be free will be what is fatal to her character’s life and well-being.
At home Connie would listen to her Mom talk or gossip about other teens and what they were doing, but Connie never led on to her mother as to what she and her friends were doing. Connie would act very differently at home when she was around her family as if she was still in the childhood stage of being good, innocent, and obeying of her parents. Connie would day dream a lot about how life would be if she was free from her home and away from her family. She wanted a different life for herself; therefore, every opportunity outside of the home and away from family allowed her to do just that. For example, Connie would change her appearance while she was out, as stated in the story “She wore a pull over jersey blouse that looked one way when she was home and another when she was away from home” (324). This quotation reveals Connie’s need to look and act different outside of home which would allow others to think it was more of a sexual look she aiming to portray. She enjoys the idea of boys and even men that would find her irresistible and attractive. Connie concocted a way of dressing, walking, and laughing that would make her stand out to men, although these ways are only temporary and brief, she acts one way in her home and very different when she is elsewhere. The story details it best by stating “Everything about her had two sides to it, ….: her walk could be childlike and bobbing, or languid enough to make anyone think she was hearing music in her head, her mouth which was pale and smirking most of the time, but bright and pink on these evenings out, her laugh which was cynical and drawing at home….but...

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