Ann Le May
English II 7200
30 September 2010
Thesis: In the short story “Where have you been, Where are you going?” Joyce Carol Oates creates the character Arnold Friend, a calculating, conniving man that uses his boy-like appearance to pursue teenage girls with his confidence and mysterious demeanor.
Oates, Joyce Carol. “Where are you going, Where have you been?”
Arnold’s last name “Friend” is ironic because he is not a friend or even somebody that can be trusted. Connie is portrayed to be lacking in self esteem and has feelings of worthlessness which is why she makes the decision, possibly fatal, to leave with him.
Johnson, Greg. Understanding Joyce Carol Oates, 1987: 101-02
Johnson “interprets the story as a feminist allegory (221)”. He describes Connie as being empty inside and heading towards the same fate most women face, “sexual bondage (221)”. His interpretation is bias in the way he insinuates that most women freely give themselves to men like Arnold Friend instead of necessity.
Rubin, Larry. Explicator 42 (1984): 57-59
Describes the story of a dream Connie had while lying in the sun. Rubin explains that Arnold Friend tells Connie all the things she wants to hear but does not in her real life. In the dream, Connie takes the credit for saving her family and feels pride for that. While I don’t feel this has anything to do with the story, it is an interesting idea and allows you to think outside the box.
Tierce,Mike and Crafton, John Michael. Studies on Short Fiction 22 (1985): 220, 223.
They both agree that Arnold Friend is a representation of Bob Dylan in the way he physically looks and musically through the radio. They paint a picture of Connie conjuring up a fantasy while listening to Bob Dylan’s music. They describe it as “a kind of magic carpet ride (223)”. This dream...