In my own mind and thoughts, the short story, Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been by Joyce Oates emphasize on how someone’s personality are greatly shaped and generated by external circumstances. Connie’s inner conflict justifies this argument as illustrated in the book. Connie did not relate well with her mother, sisters and father which led to all the struggles she faced together with identity conflict. In fact Connie ended up wishing that her mother was dead since she gave June more attention than her.
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The mother praised June and considered her to be the best which created resentment between Connie and the mother. The fact that she had no father made her look for attention from boys as a way to fill the big void in her life. Connie’s father was actually alive but gave her no attention at all; he was full of work which made him arrive home late and exhausted. During supper, he was preoccupied with newspaper and later on goes to bed. He was actually absent since he did not have time to offer guidance to the girls which made Connie to look for male attention outside.
Being a teenager, Connie was preoccupied with music, makeup and boys. However, this could have been away of escaping from the reality; she was all alone since no one from the family gave her attention. She looked for something which could preoccupy her mind. She must have been pleased by the attention that Betty and men gave her since she lacked it from the family. Connie actually enjoyed herself more in the restaurant when she is with her friend Betty.
The restaurant was a sacred territory for Connie since she was free from worries of whether her siblings or mother cared about what she was doing. Connie made decisions based on music. This shows how music influenced her life. It actually supported her; it was something she depended on. Music provided a fantasy world for Connie where she was fully contented with the world and exposed out her beauty. Music expanded Connie’s impression of romance; how other people felt when they were loved and cared for. This shows that music made her relax and feel good about herself.
Arnold Friend and Betty socially accepted Connie and that is why she allowed Arnold in her life. To Connie, Arnold was like other male friends she was hanging out with. She was comfortable with Arnold’s looks: being shaggy, wearing tight jeans and shirts, greasy leather boots and black hair. Connie later found trapped into Arnold’s manipulative conversations; his words were like romantic song in the ears of Connie which made her crave for more.
Later, Arnold changed his whole attire to attract Connie even more. Connie had been isolated by her family her entire life and that is why she allowed Arnold in her life since he showed her much love, guidance and affection something she had never had or experienced before. Arnold promised to respect and be loyal to her in order to make Connie escape with him. Later on she ends up raped by Arnold someone she had trusted. Connie had craved for love and affection but met the wrong guy who ended up using her.
In conclusion, being rejected and isolated by the society and above all by family members can deny a person the chance to achieve self identity and can also cause loss of dignity. If someone is not shown love, she will be drawn to anyone who shows little or pretend to show affection to her just like Connie. One can struggle with identity if she is compared to others and worse of all if she is isolated. In the struggle to find love and affection, something she never got from the family, Connie ended up with the devil Arnold Friend who wheels her in.
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