What will happen to you? Every person comes face to face at some point in life with vital decisions. Some of the decisions are minor ones, while others can bring turning points in life. In Joyce Carol Oates’ ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” she displays a particular instant in the main character’s life. This character, Connie was caught in the difficult transition from her youth and innocence to a doubtful future. Throughout the story Connie alternates between two very different sides of her personality, one side where she is innocent and young, and the other where she is mature.
Understanding the magnitude of Connie’s character and her interaction with others is key to comprehending exactly how she came upon her final decision. In her home life Connie is very dissatisfied. First, Connie’s mother continuously nags everything she does. Connie is always being compared her to her older sister June who is twenty-four and still living at home. It seems everything Connie does is followed by a spiteful remark from her mother. At one point Connie’s mother states, “Why don’t you keep your room clean like your sister? How ” ve you got your hair fixed- What the hell stinks? Hair Spray? You don’t see your sister using that junk” (153).
The fact that this is written in the second paragraph of the story gives the reader immediate insight into Connie’s behavior when she is with her friends later on in the story. At home she lives in her sister’s shadow knowing her mother will never be happy with her. To avoid this outside of her house she assumes the role of an adult woman when she is where the older kids hung out. Connie managed to escape from reality through music and boys.
In Alice Walker's "Everyday Use" strong characterization is abundant throughout the main characters. The story contains three main characters with Dee exhibiting the most diverse characterization. In her short "Everyday Use" Alice Walker characterizes Dee by what Dee does, what Dee says, and what others say about Dee. Dee is characterized by what she does. First of all, when Dee arrives at the ...
Consequently, when Arnold Friend shows up at Connie’s house after her parents have left, she is neither happy nor mad that he is there. She was not sure what to make of it. Perhaps if Connie had been as mature as she played herself off as she may have been able to handle the situation Arnold put her in better. That Sunday when Arnold stopped by Connie was wearing bright green, which usually symbolizes youth and fertility.
However as the encounter with Arnold progresses she began to sweat which darkened the shirt. Dark color suggest evil, and the darkening of the shirt as the visit grew more intense shows how Connie finally began too realize that her meddling between the worlds of adulthood and adolescence had come to a paralyzing stop. This was when Connie finally realized how evil the world could be. One explanation for Connie’s behavior is her relationship with her father. There is barely any mention of him throughout the story. The narrator comments, “Their father was at work most of the time, and when he came home he wanted supper, and he read the newspaper at supper, and after supper he went to bed.
He didn’t bother talking to them much… .” (153).
This explains Connie’s constant need to feel wanted from men and her yearning for affection. She gets none at home; her father won’t even look at her. If Connie’s father showed he cared for her or her mother and sister, I feel Connie would have been a entirely different person.
Sadly, Connie truly became the adult she yearned to be treated like the whole story when she was forced to make the decision of whether she would live or her family would live. Instantaneously Connie grew up. Joyce Carol Oates puts out a story filled with life lessons. However, after analysis it is evident that Oates wanted the reader to dive into Connie’s world understand her predicament and sympathize with her self-inflicted downfall. Works Cited Oates, Joyce Carol. “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” Literature and the Writing Process.
Where are you going, Where have you been. It can be argued that there are many different degrees of rape, and that in this story Connie may or may not have been raped. Rape can only be decided on a case-to-case basis, because even the most ordinary cases are not all same. In my mind it is clear that Connie was raped, because there is nothing normal about her situation, mainly because it's not ...
Eds. E. Macmahon et al. 7 th Edition.
Upper Saddle River (NJ): Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005. 152.