Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? | Study Guide

Joyce Carol Oates

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Course Hero. "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? Study Guide." Course Hero. 9 Feb. 2017. Web. 13 Dec. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Where-Are-You-Going-Where-Have-You-Been/>.

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Course Hero. (2017, February 9). Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved December 13, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Where-Are-You-Going-Where-Have-You-Been/

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(Course Hero, 2017)



Course Hero. "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? Study Guide." February 9, 2017. Accessed December 13, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Where-Are-You-Going-Where-Have-You-Been/.


Course Hero, "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? Study Guide," February 9, 2017, accessed December 13, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Where-Are-You-Going-Where-Have-You-Been/.

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? | Quotes


She knew she was pretty, and that was everything.


Obsessed with her appearance, Connie is always looking in the mirror. The first thing she thinks about when she glimpses Arnold Friend is her looks. However, they prove to be her undoing. Attracted to Connie, Arnold successfully convinces her that a pretty girl is good for only one thing—sex.


Connie couldn't do a thing, her mind was all filled with trashy daydreams.


One the basis of Connie's adolescent attitudes and behavior, Connie's mother and aunts perceive her as always dreaming of something inappropriate. Connie's mother thinks Connie is obsessed with adulthood and sexuality. Connie's dreams initially blind her to the danger posed by Arnold Friend.


Connie's mother kept picking at her until Connie wished her mother was dead.


Connie's mother nags Connie and complains about her to others. Connie is tired of her mother's disapproving comments and, as misunderstood adolescents often do, wishes her parent dead. However, when the freedom she longs for arrives in the person of Arnold Friend, it is Connie who is led away to her possible death.


Sometimes, over coffee, they were almost friends, but something would come up—some vexation ... like a fly buzzing around their heads.


Connie and her mother have some friendlier moments. While Connie gets annoyed with her mother's nagging and negative comparisons to her sister, Connie thinks her mother actually prefers her to her sister because Connie is prettier. However, mother and daughter do not see eye to eye on most issues, and their closeness does not last for long.


She spoke sullenly, careful to show no interest or pleasure.


When Connie first sees Arnold Friend pull up to her house, she is excited. She enjoys being pursued by boys and the attention they give her. Part of her act is to feign indifference, but because Arnold is older than the boys she flirts with, her tricks have no power over him.


But all these things did not come together.


When Connie first sees Arnold Friend in front of her house, she is happy with his attention and looking for excitement. However, as they interact more, Connie notices something about Arnold Friend is off. He is not what he first appears to be and is unlike anyone Connie knows. Although she likes his looks and manner of dress, she realizes that he is older, that there is something sinister about him, and that she cannot control him.


She cried out ... for her mother ... Arnold Friend was stabbing her ... with no tenderness.


Arnold Friend terrifies Connie. She realizes she cannot handle him, for he is older, far more experienced, and will not respond as other boys have. In calling out for her mother, Connie reveals she is far less mature and sophisticated than she would like to think; in fact she is still a child. Just as she calls out for her mother, she senses Arnold Friend raping her, foreshadowing what will happen to her.


Inside your daddy's house—is nothing ... You know that and always did know it.

Arnold Friend

One way in which Arnold Friend intimidates Connie into leaving the house is to make her believe that he has always been her fate. Underscoring the story's link to fairy tales, he acts like the Big Bad Wolf who has the power to blow down her father's "cardboard" house.


She thought, I have got to think. I have got to know what to do.


In her previous experiences with boys, Connie has been in control. However, Arnold Friend is unlike anyone she has ever met and, in his uncanny knowledge of her and her family, might be a supernatural force. Nothing has prepared her for a predator like Arnold, and as a result, she sacrifices herself to him.


She watched herself push the door ... moving out into the sunlight where Arnold Friend waited.


Connie is overwhelmed by Arnold Friend and ultimately succumbs to his wish that she join him. In a strange out-of-body experience, she follows him to his car knowing he is going to rape her. Her coming initiation into sexual awareness has effectively killed the more demure side of herself that she displayed in her own home.

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