Free Essay On Lost Innocence In “Where Are You Going, Where Have Your Been?”

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Adulthood, Friendship, World, Innocence, Literature, Adult, Fantasy, Reality

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2021/01/02

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In Joyce Carol Oate’s short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” Connie is an innocent teenager entering adulthood. She is an adventurous dreamer who is obsessed with her looks and boys, but she is not yet a woman. The world of fantasy and reality come crashing together when she meets Arnold Friend, a strange personified devil character. Isolated and vulnerable in her own home, her innocence is violated as she becomes a mature sexual woman. Oates uses Connie’s encounter with Arnold Friend to portray the initiation process of a young women entering adulthood.
Connie is innocent and naive. However, she is beginning to transition into adulthood, and is not completely innocent. She wants attention from boys and has “long hair that drew anyone’s eye to it” (Oates 201). Connie’s distant and quiet father drives her to go shopping with friends, but “sometimes they went across the highway, ducking fast across the busy road, to a drive-in restaurant where older kids hung out” (Oates 201). Connie is tired of being a child, and is intrigued by the world of the older kids.
Albert Friend is either the devil or a really sick pedophile serial murderer However he also represents Connie’s abrupt and inevitable end of innocence. Connie is tempted by Albert, and “couldn't decide if she liked him or if he was just a jerk” (Oates 208). He is charismatic, muscular and attractive, with eyes “like chips of broken glass that catch the light in an amiable way (Oates 206). He may be the devil, knows everyone and everything. He could also be a serial killer, because Connie is confident she will never see her mother or sleep in her own bed again (Oates 208). Connie may be a willing victim, but it is hard to confidently determine if she is losing her virginal innocence or about to be murdered.
Furthermore, Arnold Friend may be a fantasy, constructed by Connie as she is about to enter adulthood and become sexually aware. Oates has compassion for Connie and portrays the process as overtly terrifying. Arnold Friend tells her in a theatrical voice that "The place where you came from ain't there any more” (Oates 209). Once innocence is lost, it is impossible to regain. Connie loves fantasy, and wants to appear like an adult and get attention from boys. However, when the reality arrives, in the form of Arnold Friend, it is not romantic or idealized, but a scary and ominous scenario. The numbers written in code on his car are hard to decipher, like the adult world to a teenager. Connie finds that aspects of the adult world and sexuality is not the fantasy she hears about in popular music, but a more sinister and aggressive form of reality that is not always romantic.
In the story Oates conveys the disorienting process of becoming an adult and losing the innocence and dependence associated with childhood. Ultimately, the reader is left to draw their own conclusions about Connie’s fate. However, Connie is going to see the world from a much different perspective after her encounter with Arnold Friend. The title of the story is informative. Where she has been – childhood and fantasy – is over, and she is going to the reality of the adult world. It makes her dizzy, but she has been dreaming about it for years. Since becoming a woman is inevitable, there is no protection from Arnold, who represents the loss of childhood innocence, which is a transformative experience.

Work Cited

Oates, Joyce Carol. "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" Barnet, Sylvan, William Burto, and William E. Cain. Literature for Composition: An Introduction to Literature. 10th ed. New York: Pearson.: pg. 199-210., 2013. Print.

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WePapers. (2021, January, 02) Free Essay On Lost Innocence In “Where Are You Going, Where Have Your Been?”. Retrieved May 07, 2021, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-essay-on-lost-innocence-in-where-are-you-going-where-have-your-been/
"Free Essay On Lost Innocence In “Where Are You Going, Where Have Your Been?”." WePapers, 02 Jan. 2021, https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-essay-on-lost-innocence-in-where-are-you-going-where-have-your-been/. Accessed 07 May 2021.
WePapers. 2021. Free Essay On Lost Innocence In “Where Are You Going, Where Have Your Been?”., viewed May 07 2021, <https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-essay-on-lost-innocence-in-where-are-you-going-where-have-your-been/>
WePapers. Free Essay On Lost Innocence In “Where Are You Going, Where Have Your Been?”. [Internet]. January 2021. [Accessed May 07, 2021]. Available from: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-essay-on-lost-innocence-in-where-are-you-going-where-have-your-been/
"Free Essay On Lost Innocence In “Where Are You Going, Where Have Your Been?”." WePapers, Jan 02, 2021. Accessed May 07, 2021. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-essay-on-lost-innocence-in-where-are-you-going-where-have-your-been/
WePapers. 2021. "Free Essay On Lost Innocence In “Where Are You Going, Where Have Your Been?”." Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. Retrieved May 07, 2021. (https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-essay-on-lost-innocence-in-where-are-you-going-where-have-your-been/).
"Free Essay On Lost Innocence In “Where Are You Going, Where Have Your Been?”," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 02-Jan-2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-essay-on-lost-innocence-in-where-are-you-going-where-have-your-been/. [Accessed: 07-May-2021].
Free Essay On Lost Innocence In “Where Are You Going, Where Have Your Been?”. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-essay-on-lost-innocence-in-where-are-you-going-where-have-your-been/. Published Jan 02, 2021. Accessed May 07, 2021.
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