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Where Are You Going Where Have You Been

Where Are You Going Where Have You Been

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Published by Amy Madine
Essay on "Where are you going, where have you been" by Joyce Carol Oates.. based on a true story of some creep that murdered young girls
Essay on "Where are you going, where have you been" by Joyce Carol Oates.. based on a true story of some creep that murdered young girls

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Published by: Amy Madine on Mar 28, 2011
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03/28/2011

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Amy MadineProfessor H.English 102 CompositionMarch 9, 2011Connie achieves salvation by sacrificing her own life to save the lives of her family members. A typical superficial teenage girl enjoying her summer break comesface to face with the devil himself. Connie’s main concerns of boys, music, and friendsunexpectedly become insignificant. The fateful Sunday morning Connie arrogantlychooses not to spend time with her family at a BBQ becomes the day that she must face afear instilled decision. Her family with whom she argues, barely speaks to, and at mosttimes despises, will now be the ones who go on living due to her unconditional love andnobility.Most fifteen year old girls argue with their mother. In the midst of pubertyConnie is uninterested in her mother’s disappointment and constant comparison to her unattractive well behaved sister. Connie’s mother continually picks at her until “shewishes her mother was dead and she herself was dead and it was all over.” Little doesshe know her wish could become a reality. Obsessing over boys, her looks, and goingout with her friends is what leads to her first interaction with Arnold Friend. As shecatches eyes with him he “wagged a finger and laughed and said, 'Gonna get you, baby.”This event is a foreshadowing of Connie’s untimely demise.There are clues in the story associating Arnold to an inhuman evil being. Whenhe first approaches Connie at her home, he uses tactics attempting to lure her in withcharm and comfort. His casual attitude quickly changes when she is not accepting his1 Madine
 
advances. When he begins telling her information he couldn’t possibly know about her family and even her virginity this suggests a presence of supernatural force. Arnold’srefusal to cross the threshold into Connie’s house, and the way Arnold’s boot was at astrange angle possibly like that of a goat, are characteristics leading to the assumption heis the devil.The ending of the story creeps up on you, much the same way Arnoldtranscends from being nice to Connie to threatening her to join him in his car. Connie isdescribed as feeling possessed – her heart is a "pounding, living thing inside this bodythat wasn't really hers either," and having an out-of-body experience "she watched herself push the door slowly open as if she were back safe somewhere in the other doorway". Itis almost as if Arnold has some type of grasp on Connie’s mind. When Connieobediently places the telephone receiver back on the hook, it's clear that she has come toaccept her fate: she must join Arnold in order to save her family.When Connie finally crosses the threshold, the last image the story gives us isArnold Friend, surrounded by "vast sunlit reaches of land." How we interpret this imagedetermines how we read Connie's final action, as either an act of self-sacrifice or a kindof defeat. Connie could have tried to run, hide or even called the police, but she knewthat Arnold would hurt her family if she did not give herself up. She ultimately achievesself enlightenment by giving up her entire life to ensure the safety of her family. Thelast line describes Connie not recognizing the land outside her house, but she knew “shewas going to it.” She knows her life is over and she will soon be underground.2 Madine

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