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Joyce Carol Oates: Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? (Essay Sample)


Topic: Joyce Carol Oates - “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”
Write a five-page, DOUBLE-SPACED argumentative essay. This essay will begin with an intro that could include a summary of the ongoing discussion between the two sides of the issue and make the discussion flow smoothly throughout by using transitions. (It may be best to outline your essay before you begin writing.) At least TWO academic sources are required. All sources must be configured in MLA-style.


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‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'
‘Where are you going, where have you been?' is a story written by Joyce Carol Oates about a fifteen year old girl, Connie, who is consumed by her looks and she is in constant conflict with her mother about this. Her mother is always comparing her with her sister June who is simple but very helpful to the family. Connie's adventures with boys led her to meet a different kind of a boy, Arnold Friend who changes the course of her life. Connie watching herself walk out of her house to meet Arnold and seeing vast lands unfamiliar to her is an imagery of her transition from childhood to adulthood or life to death CITATION Joy66 \l 1033 (Oates). The narrator also uses literary and rhetorical devices to enhance the title of the story and the following paragraphs show how the title of where are you going, where have you been.
This essay is focusing on the title to show where the characters have been and where they are going. Connie and her mother portray the title based on their beauty. Connie being where her mother has been and the mother being where Connie is going. Authority was not there, self-will and independence ruled their lives, and Connie's resented her family and was all about herself. These changes when Arnold Friend showed up and now there is authority to follow, self- will is denied and Connie is now concerned of her family and even sacrifices herself for them to be safe.
“You think you are so pretty?” those were the words Connie's mother would ask her daughter every time she took a look at the mirror admiring herself. She had a long hair that was just the right color, dark brown, to turn necks to her direction in the shopping malls that she and her sister accompanied by their friends went every other evening. She wore pink lipstick on her lips, walked provocatively in public and wore bracelets on her arms. She was always looking at herself on the mirrors and checking people's faces to see their judgement of her looks. As a fifteen year old girl, Connie “knew that she was pretty and that is all that was everything' to her CITATION Joy66 \l 1033 (Oates).
Her mother on the other hand, had aged from the old beauty days that her daughter Connie is in now, she became but ‘scuffling around the house in the old bedroom slippers' and for this reason she was always bickering her daughter out of jealous CITATION Whe18 \l 1033 (Where Are You going, Where Have You Been?). Connie's eyes were brown but she transited into blue eyes as Arnold Friend described her and her natural eye color was all gone. Connie's looks was where her mother had been and the mother is where Connie will be going.
Connie's and those around her don't have an authority identity. Connie's father is seldom at home, he is busy working and when he is around he is glued on the newspaper while eating dinner and heads to bed afterwards, spending no time with his family CITATION Joy66 \l 1033 (Oates). Connie loved to go out with her friends and occasionally, her best friend's father would take them to the shopping plaza and on picking them he wouldn't bother to ask them where and what they had been up to. This signifies that those in authority had no control or guidance whatsoever as to what the girls did which can be interpreted as lack of exercising authority as should be.
On the other side of the flip coin, in her encounter with the mysterious Arnold Friend, Connie does everything the man says as much as she tried severally to refuse what he was asking of her. He was assertive that ‘I am not coming in there but you are coming out here' CITATION Joy66 \l 1033 (Oates) and that she did. He went ahead and warned her...

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