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Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

1258 words - 6 pages

"Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"As I read "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" I sat on the floor in the corner of my room, completely alone in a four-bedroom suite on a Saturday night. I desperately wished that what happened to Connie would not happen to me that night. Few stories have terrified me as much as this one by Joyce Carol Oates. I feared I would soon encounter someone like Arnold Friend, and he would threaten my family if I refused his seductions to blindly follow him. Luckily for me, the story had several indications through descriptions of the characters and surroundings that Connie's situation was not completely realistic. There were several hints that all ...view middle of the document...

She shook her head to get her bearings. The day was too hot for her to sit outside, so she went to her room and listened to the radio. After about an hour and a half of listening to "hard, fast, shrieking songs" Connie felt "bathed in a glow of slow-pulsed joy that seemed to rise mysteriously out of the music itself and lay languidly about the airless little room, breathed in and breathed out with each gentle rise and fall of her chest" (424).It seemed like Connie had drifted off to sleep. She awoke, perhaps in a dream instead of in reality, with a jolt at the sound of a car coming up the gravel drive. The driver called himself Arnold Friend and introduced his friend as Ellie Oscar. Ellie had a transistor radio held against his ear. He was listening to the same program Connie had been listening to before she heard the car (425). If the idea is upheld that Connie's encounter with Arnold Friend was a dream, it could have been in her dream state, she was still slightly aware of the music playing in her room and allowed it to penetrate her sleep and present itself in her dream. Even the voice of the radio announcer could be heard in her dream, coming from Arnold Friend when he tried to get her excited about going for a ride with him (428).Arnold Friend was an incredibly peculiar, almost even demonic, character. "His face was a familiar face, somehow" (426). It is possible Connie had remembered the face of the boy sitting in the car at the restaurant who had said "gonna get you, baby" (423) as she passed the car, and he appeared in her dream as a subconscious reference to the night before. While the way he dressed was in style and convincing, he was not entirely sure how people Connie's age acted. He was too cautious around the car; rather than jumping in and out of the open jalopy he chose to carefully open the door and slide out of the seat, "planting his feet firmly on the ground" (425). He leaned against the car "stiffly relaxed" while trying to keep his balance (427). His laughter and speech seemed fake, forced. He used expressions that were outdated or even made up when he was unsure of which to use (430). While at first glance he appeared to be a normal teenage boy, Connie soon realized he was much older (427)....

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