Where Are You Going_ Where Have You Been by lotlot2020


									Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

When a person is put in an incredibly horrifying situation where the
outcome is unpredictable many physical and emotional changes take place.
Joyce Carol Oates’s story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"
places Connie, a typical teenager, in this situation. Throughout the
story, occasionally using religious undertones, Connie’s language of a
typical teenager gradually changes, from calm and somewhat curious to
nervous and terrified.

Early in the story on a Sunday morning, Connie’s family leaves   to go to a
family barbeque down the street. Connie is left by herself and   chooses to
wash her hair instead of going to church. When she hears a car   driving up
to her house, her heart starts pounding, she pulls at her hair   and says,
"Christ. Christ.," not in reference to the Lord or religion in   general
but because she is worried about how bad she looks. This gives   and
indication of how the author interprets religion in the story,   not
important and not serious.

As the story progresses, Connie’s language takes an obvious turn. When
Arnold Friend, someone she has seen but never talked to, shows up on her
doorstep, she is somewhat defensive, but curious. "I ain’t late, am I?"
is the first thing he says to her when she opens the screen door. Connie
replies by saying, "Who the hell do you think you are?", a typical
response of someone in that situation. If a complete stranger showed up
at my house and talked to me as though we were best friends I would
respond the same way.

Throughout the story Oates continues to use vulgar language to illustrate
the story and show how much Arnold Friend knows about Connie. The more
Arnold talks, the more he reveals about his knowledge of Connie and the
things and people around her. Soon, Arnold starts naming off all of
Connie’s friends, assuring her, "I know everybody." Arnold also knows
things about her that he would know only if he was with her all the time,

"I... found out all about you like I know your parents and sister are
gone somewheres and I know where and how long they’re going to be gone,
and I know who you were with last night..."

Connie’s fear of the situation sends waves of dizziness through her body,
makes her hands shake, and causes "Her heart [to be] too big now for her
chest and its pumping made sweat break out all over her." The extreme
knowledge and intense tone of the dialogue make Connie scared and
nervous, which is also projected in the language she uses. When Arnold
says, "We ain’t leaving until you come with us" Connie replies with a
firm answer, "Like hell I am." She curses again, to make her point clear
when she says, "Get the hell out of here."

"Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" uses language to gradually
increase suspense. Religion is a part of the story, but it doesn’t bring
Connie salvation or protection. I believe that Arnold Friend represents
an evil force sent by the devil and religion doesn’t keep Connie safe
because it appears that she doesn’t believe in it. Toward the end of the
story she may have tried to affirm God, as a last ditch effort to save
herself, but all in all, I think that the language she used was to make
the story realistic, and is typical of a scared fifteen year-old girl.

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