Connie, the main character in the story, is driven by her self- imposed need to attain maturity in her own sense. To explain, the following line highlights some of her efforts to appear to be mature: “How’ve you got your hair fixed—what the hell stinks? Hair spray? You don’t see your sister using that junk” (Oates 26).
It is obvious, that maturity in this context, or in Connie’s mind, is not about acting in a responsible manner but basically pertains to the task of becoming more attractive.
Physical appeal which also denotes sexual appeal, so as to possibly gain the interest of men around her and to look older than she is, is not unique to Connie but may in fact be common among those passing through the stage of adolescence. However, throughout the progression of the story it is also apparent that her approach and views regarding the concept of maturity did not change at all. Connie still manages to spend time “dreaming about the boys she met” even though her mother would talk to her about other issues and concerns (Oates 29).
Connie would only dismiss her mother’s words as senseless criticism. Indeed, her way of thinking and acting around her peers and her family have probably remained the same prior to the conclusion of the story. Of course though, it seems that her endeavors to achieve what adolescent’s consider as maturity did not end well as one may assume in the conclusion of the story; she eventually gave in to the demands of a mysterious figure, possibly a representation of the brutal aspects of maturity and adulthood.
... the end, she is lead to ruin. (Short Stories For Students 262) Connie's natural instinct to flirt becomes a negative trait ... suspect by the tone of the story and the force in which Arnold Friend takes over Connie that she will be raped ... my bed again'; . (Short Stories for Students 263) 'Oates conclusion, so seemingly cold, is un redemptive for Connie, but the reader understands ...
In conclusion, Connie’s character remained static throughout the entire progression of the story, maintaining her pursuit of embodying a false sense of maturity which eventually brought forth unfortunate consequences. Work Cited Oates, Joyce Carol. Where are You Going, Where Have You Been? New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers.