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Connie in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Oates J. Carol

Introduction

The family has remained as the only functional unit of the society where children can get love, guidance and acceptance. However, parents who are supposed to give guidance to children have neglected this role leaving young people with the only option of learning from their peers. In fact, many young people in the modern society choose to spend time with their friends than with their own families. This clearly points to a serious social problem. In most cases, the society where these young people have been left to look for guidance does not have the right morals. Most of these young people are still at a very tender age where they cannot fully differentiate reality from fantasy. In Joyce Oates story, lack of parental and societal guidance is viewed as the leading cause of waywardness in many young people’s lives.

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Main body

Upon reading Joyce story, many of us would wonder why Connie was such an easy victim for Arnold Friend. Looking closely, one would realize that Connie’s family dynamics played a key role in shaping her character. To begin with, Connie’s mother was her daughters’ biggest critic. The story tells us that Connie’s mother would reprimand her when she caught her admiring herself in the mirror. Words like “You think you’re so pretty?” (Oates) were common slurs that were usually directed at the young girl. This must have made Connie to feel unappreciated in the family forcing her to turn to her friends for appreciation. On the other hand, her father was constantly busy at work to a point where he did not have time for his family. The story tells us that upon arriving home, the only thing that mattered to him was reading his newspaper, eating supper then going to bed. The lack of appreciation from home made Connie to feel neglected making her to turn to her friends for company. In fact, we are told, “everything about her had two sides to it, one for home and one for anywhere that was not home”. (Oates)This lack of direction and love from her family was one reason why Connie was such an easy prey for Arnold Friend.

The other reason why she was lured easily was her age. Being only fifteen years, Connie could not make informed decisions and her thinking was still childish. Because of her age, her perception of love was what she saw on movies and what was promised in love songs. Her naivety gave her the courage that she could not get in to a situation that she was incapable of handling. When Arnold Friend shows up at her door, the first question that she asks him is “Who the hell do you think you are?” (Oates)To Connie, Arnold is just an average boy whom she thinks she can push around. It is this self-confidence that makes her open the door to someone she does not even know. In fact, Connie was willing to take the ride with Arnold until she realized that he looked older than she did. Connie’s young age and her personality therefore put her in a compromising situation.

The other thing that I believe made Connie an easy prey to Arnold was the social and cultural attitudes of the time. By closely looking at the story, this was a society where parents did not question the activities that their children engaged in. In fact, we are told that her best girl friends’ father drove them to town on a regular basis. While in the town, they would do all the things they wanted and “when he came to pick them up again at eleven he never bothered to ask what they had done”. (Oates)This aspect points out to the fact that the parents had left their children to participate in the activities they wanted without questioning them. The same lack of concern makes Connie fail to go to the barbecue with her family. We are told in the story that when Connie heard a car approaching their driveway, she was “startled” because she thought that it was her father. This shows that Connie must have been afraid of her father. This aspect tells us that older men in the society instilled a sense of fear in young girl’s lives. This might point out as to the reason why Connie was so eager to go out with Arnold until she realized that he looked old. It is also the reason why she did not call the police since she believed that Arnold would carry out the threats he had issued against her.

Conclusion

By looking at the story, it is clear that the society plays a vital role in giving direction to young people. If parents fail to appreciate and love their children, it is most likely that those children will look for love all in the wrong places. It is therefore important for the society to treat their children with love and respect. It is also important to teach children on the right path to follow since failure to do this will lead to these children following the path taken by their friends. This might lead to the children’s downfall in a situation where the ways of their friends is misleading.

Works Cited

Oates J. Carol. “Where are you Going, Where Have You Been”? Educating Minds and Hearts to Change the World (2007): n. pag.Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 7). Connie in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Oates J. Carol. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/connie-in-where-are-you-going-where-have-you-been-by-oates-j-carol/

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 7). Connie in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Oates J. Carol. https://studycorgi.com/connie-in-where-are-you-going-where-have-you-been-by-oates-j-carol/

Work Cited

"Connie in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Oates J. Carol." StudyCorgi, 7 Jan. 2022, studycorgi.com/connie-in-where-are-you-going-where-have-you-been-by-oates-j-carol/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Connie in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Oates J. Carol." January 7, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/connie-in-where-are-you-going-where-have-you-been-by-oates-j-carol/.


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StudyCorgi. "Connie in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Oates J. Carol." January 7, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/connie-in-where-are-you-going-where-have-you-been-by-oates-j-carol/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Connie in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Oates J. Carol." January 7, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/connie-in-where-are-you-going-where-have-you-been-by-oates-j-carol/.

References

StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Connie in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Oates J. Carol'. 7 January.

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