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Joyce Carol Oates' "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" tells us about the life of Connie who has no guidance in life, because her family has not provided any moral support to help through her teenage life. She only knows about popular culture and not the consequences that comes with it. Without proper direction to face problems, Connie is confronted by Arnold Friend who has a plan to do some grotesque things to her. This encounter between them causes a power struggle between them that provides Connie downfall toward potential death. Arnold's proclaimed supernatural ability controls and manipulates Connie's mind and spirituality to strip her of any dignity that exists within.
Arnold had "a special interest in Connie" to carry his deed in taking her soul or something from her (619). He has knowledge about everything Connie is involved, because he has devil like qualities to take control of her destiny. A lack of experience to face problems or people like Arnold can affect the thought process into making a logical decision therefore doing things without knowing what will happen at the end. Arnold's presence provides a dominant feeling to Connie who does not know Arnold's intentions. He takes advantage of pop culture to find out how to get to her though music, clothes, and boys. Arnold was somewhat outdated to the time, but he was still close enough to trick Connie into thinking he was a teenage. Bennett 2 Connie can not possibly be prepared for what Arnold has in store for her, since she was not properly taught about having morals.
The family did not have any strong ties with each other to protect Connie from any harm. She decided to "stay home alone" to avoid any conflicts with her family (617). When Arnold comes, she is drawn to him physically causing him to know that she is under his control. There is no hope for Connie since she does not know what to do about Arnold. How can this situation be avoided without a strong knowledge of the opposition? This was a question that never came into the mind of Connie. The only thing she was really worrying about was what was Arnold going to do if she did not go with him.
Connie is scared to the fact that she can not believe this is happening to her. This does not happen in popular culture and music, but it happens in reality. Arnold knows what Connie likes so he uses this to her disadvantage. "Connie stared at him" with a look that she likes his style, and she was overwhelmed (622). He dresses like other teenage boys to make him look younger.
She is drawn to him very quickly. The atmosphere changes when Arnold could not get her to leave with him so he is very angry with her. He finally lures her out by threaten to harm her family. Judging people physically can sometimes overshadow how the person is inside. The relationship between Arnold and Connie could be a fatal one to Connie.
His real plan is to hurt her just like he did the other women he was with. When Arnold founded Connie's weakness, he attacked at it as much as possible to make her weak and potentially fragile mentally. Bennett 3 Works CitedOates, Joyce Carol. "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" Laurie Kirszner and Stephen Mandell. p.614-626. USA: Harcourt, 2000.
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