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Course Hero. "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? Study Guide." February 9, 2017. Accessed December 17, 2018.


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Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? | Discussion Questions 31 - 40


In "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" why does Connie's house appear unfamiliar after Arnold Friend has threatened her?

Connie sees her house as a place where she is restricted. She wants to leave the house and be free and independent. Arnold Friend's talk and threats make Connie fearful. The house, which she wanted to leave, now acts as a sanctuary, and Connie wants to stay in and keep Arnold Friend out. The kitchen is suddenly unfamiliar as it "looked like a place she had never seen before." However, neither the kitchen nor the house itself, with its flimsy screen door, can keep her safe once Arnold Friend's threat extends beyond Connie to her family. As he tells her, "The place where you came from ain't there any more."

What is the impact of Ellie's limited speech in "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"

Ellie has only two lines of dialogue in the story. In them he offers to disconnect the telephone in Connie's house when he senses she is causing Arnold Friend problems. Ellie is the ultimate silent sidekick. The man-child is there simply to serve Arnold Friend as needed, even after Arnold calls Ellie a number of names including "you miserable creepy dope." Arnold's command to him to "put that away" suggests he might be ready to help murder Connie with an unseen weapon. He is another embodiment of the opposite of the type of man Connie thinks she should be able to charm in her independence and supposed maturity.

In what ways does Arnold Friend's way of speaking remind Connie of movies and songs in "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"

Arnold Friend is a fraud in his presentation to Connie. He watches the same movies and listens to the same songs that teenagers watch and listen to. He does this so he can pass himself off as a teen and talk their language. Yet everything about him is fake, and his way of talking is no different. He is repeating what he has learned. Arnold is behind the times as he uses words that "echo ... a song from last year," because he's only interested in the youth culture as a way to lure girls. Arnold uses this method to lure Connie. From the moment he meets her, his goal is clear: "'Gonna get you, baby.'" To "get" Connie he studies everything about her and is able to say, "I know all about you."

How does Arnold Friend persuade Connie to follow him in "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"

Arnold does seem to believe all along that Connie will follow him. His words are described as incantatory. He understands how to appeal to her, first trying to present himself as an attractive teenager, then claiming to be her friend and lover, and finally threatening to harm her family if she doesn't go with him. Part of his seductive appeal is to make her believe that he is her only destiny. He says she "always did know" that she belongs with him, not inside her house. Later he says, "What else is there for a girl like you but to be sweet and pretty and give in?"

How does the author foreshadow Connie's rape in "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"

When Arnold Friend continues his threats from outside the screen door, Connie tries to call her mother for help but is unsuccessful. Arnold Friend says he will enter the house only if Connie picks up the phone. As Connie does pick up the phone, her breath feels "as if ... Arnold Friend was stabbing her ... again and again with no tenderness." Arnold also refers explicitly to his plan to do "just two things, or maybe three" to Connie and to "show [her] what love is like, what it does." Although the story does not make Connie's fate explicit, it is possible that in addition to rape Arnold's "third thing" might be to murder her.

Why does Connie change after her failed telephone call in "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"

After Connie's failed telephone call, she no longer feels scared: "She was hollow with what ... was now just an emptiness." There is no one to save her, and the only thing to do is walk through the door and leave the house just as Arnold Friend insists. She has become resigned to her fate as she sees it. Once she recognizes she cannot escape from Arnold Friend, Connie accepts her life may be over. She thinks to herself about what will no longer happen, "... not going to see my mother again ... not going to sleep in my bed again." What she once wished for is now occurring, but instead of joy, Connie feels emptiness as she heads toward the gold car.

What is the meaning of Arnold Friend's suggestion of love and fields in "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"

Before Arnold Friend arrives at her house, Connie is dreaming of the boys she had been with and how tender her experiences were. As in song lyrics, she longs for that one boy who will take her away. Her mother calls her thoughts trashy daydreams. However, for Connie they are what make life worth living. Arnold Friend says they will drive to "a nice field, out in the country where it smells so nice and it's sunny," and he will wrap his arms around her in an embrace. This scenario is similar to what Connie has dreamed of, but the sunny field will now be the setting for her rape and possible murder.

Why does Connie feel as though her heart is no longer hers in "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"

When the story opens, Connie believes "she [is] pretty and that was everything." Connie feels the world is hers; because she is pretty, she can lead a charmed life and do as she pleases. The appearance of Arnold Friend at her house turns Connie's looks into a liability. He objectifies her, saying there is nothing for a girl like her but to "be sweet and pretty and give in." When he tells her to put her hand over her heart, he says, "That feels solid too but we know better." Connie does feel her heart and thinks it is "nothing that was hers, that belonged to her." Under his spell she is nothing more than her good looks.

In "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" why does Arnold Friend repeatedly threaten Connie's family?

When the story opens, Connie wants nothing more than to be free of her family. She wishes her mother dead, says her father never talks to her, and makes fun of her sister. However, faced with the threat of Arnold Friend she turns back to her family. She tells Arnold her father is coming home, and she attempts to call her mother. Arnold turns to threatening Connie's family members when he sees that they are a vulnerable spot for her. He says, "If you don't come out we're gonna wait till your people come home and then they're all going to get it."

Why does Connie seem to watch herself as she goes toward Arnold Friend in "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"

When Connie leaves her house through the screen door and goes to Arnold Friend, she is no longer herself. She has not spoken in the story for some time; she is in complete shock, overwhelmed by Arnold Friend's threats. It is as if he has gotten inside of her head and is thinking for her; she is able to watch herself push the door open "as if she were back safe somewhere in the other doorway." Connie has reflected earlier in the story that "everything about her [has] two sides to it," one for her behavior at home and another for her behavior outside the home. As she leaves the safety of her home, possibly forever, the "home" side watches the more sexual side depart.

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