Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been

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Diana Nicholas Mrs. Psathas Honors Analytical Writing 24 March 2014 Particular short stories portray characters with obvious traits, opinions, and lifestyles; however, others contain complex structures that appear to have more than one personality within one single character. Some dual personalities possess opposite traits which lead the character into an unhealthy lifestyle, generally failing to coexist in a way that contributes to a healthy lifestyle. In the short story, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” Joyce Carol Oates uses two conflicting personalities for the protagonist, Connie, and presumably results fatally. Oates’ delineation of Connie as a complex character with conflicting personalities of a “cool” girl versus a “good” girl enhances her desire for attention leading her to her ultimate demise. As a youthful teenager, Connie resents the restraints that her parents demand, and resorts to extreme measures to exaggerate a more sophisticated, mature self. In the beginning of the short story, Oates releys the reader that Connie is just fifteen years old, but she chooses to participate in activities and lifestyles that conflict with her young age, despite the possible consequences in the future. For example, when Connie and her friends go out at night claiming to see a movie, they usually choose unfitting activities instead: “Sometimes they did go shopping or to a movie but sometimes they went across the highway, ducking fast across the busy road to a drive-in restaurant where the older kids hung out” (694). Connie’s venture across the street symbolizes her inner desire and thirst to receive the perks of adulthood. Unaware that by crossing the street she crosses the boundary from her normal life into the unpredictable, unprepared world of maturity. The street symbolizes the overlapping zone of her two personalities. One side of the
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