"Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?".
Joyce Carol Oates's Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? is an interesting dichotomy of a girl's coming of age story and a grim fairy tale. The protagonist in this story is Connie, a vain young girl with a penchant for trashy dreams; while Arnold Friend is her antagonist, an evil force most likely, the Pied Piper or the Devil. Their interaction and foreshadowed moments bring the story to its inevitable tragic end. The character of Connie will be the first explored.
Connie is established in the beginning of the story as a vain, shallow daydreamer. It's these flaws that bring about her fall. In the first paragraph, her vanity is clearly displayed:.
" craning her neck to glance into mirrors or checking .
other people's faces to make sure her own was all right." (p.60).
She thinks of little else except mindless daydreams, which end up harming her later on:.
" dreaming about the boys she met." (p.62).
"Connie couldn't do a thing, her mind was all filled with.
trashy daydreams." (p.60).
Connie succumbs to her "trashy dreams" in the form of the evil entity that has come to take her away. She is seduced by way of her vanity and mistakes death for an erotic romance of a trashy kind; a sort of fatal attraction to the evil of Arnold Friend.
Arnold Friend is a sexual swaggart disguised as the ultimate trashy dream- James Dean:.
" he had shaggy, shabby black hair- (p.63).
" tight faded jeans stuffed into black scuffed boots, a .
belt that pulled his waist in a white pull over shirt .
even his neck looked muscular- (p.65).
He stereotypes the ideal rebel that Connie would want. There are also clues that Arnold Friend's true identity is that of the Pied Piper. Music and sounds are constantly recurring in the story, enticing Connie every time into a daydream where everything seems great:.
" charm bracelets jingling- (p.61).
" she was hearing music in her head- (p.