The Analysis Of The Story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” By Joyce Oates

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? By Joyce Oates

“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” starts off with a young fifteen-year-old girl named Connie who is reckless and admires her appearance despite her mom’s comments. Connie was a typical disobedient teenager however, things started to turn for the worst when Arnold Friend notices Connie for the first time. When Connie notices his gold convertible, “He stared at her and then his lips widened into a grin He waged a finger and said Gonna get you, baby” (Oates 129), this clarifies his desire and objectives with her. Connie rejects his comments suggesting she doesn’t like him yet he still doesn’t comprehend that. Joyce Oates paints of an image of an unforgettable character of Arnold friend when he reveals that he is very obsessive, controlling, and he shows signs of being a psychopath.Connie was singing along to a program with interspersed by exclamations from Bobby King before Arnold friend showed up at her house.

When Arnold friend got there he started talking to Connie like they knew each other. He started to point out his friend’s, Ellie, new radio and she noticed that the same program as she was listening too. “Bobby King? She said I listen to him all the time. I think he’s great. He’s kind of great, Connie said reluctantly” (Oates 131). Her reluctantly answer was like she was hesitating because it was probably unusual that a guy wouldn’t like a gospel singer. Could this be a coincidence or did he purposely know that Connie really adored Bobby King and wanted her to feel more comfortable since they had something in common.

This factor suggests that he has been watching her, obsessing over her likes and dislikes without even talking to her. He wants her to like him that’s why he says he’s great and he listens to him all the time.Another, demeanor that becomes clear of him being obsessive is when he excessively tries to talk to Connie and shows up at her house unwelcomed. She can’t help to talk to him because he has forced himself on her. One interaction that shows Connie isn’t interested in him is when he says, “I ain’t late am I? he said.Who the hell do you think you? Connie said.Toldja I’d be out, didn’t I?I don’t even know who you are. She spoke sullenly…” (Oates 131).

This conversation explains how much his fascination he has with her. She doesn’t even know him yet he still knows where she lives, he communicates to her like she knew he was coming, and acting as if she was waiting for him. However, he did say he was going to “get her” in the beginning of the story and this could be what he was meant by it when he said it. It still doesn’t take into the fact why he would know where she lives if they never met before. His one encounter with her at the restaurant made him fantasize about her.In the story Arnold friend seems so secretive, mysterious, and set on one goal. The goal being Connie, you can tell he wants her more than someone who has a crush. Oates makes it seem like he wants to take control of her and he’ll like it. This is concerning for Connie because his obsession could lead into a worse situation than she thinks.

As Arnold friend lingers on trying to convince Connie in letting him take her for a ride. He questioned, “Connie, you ain’t telling the truth. This is your day set aside for a ride with me and you know it he said, still laughing.How do you know what my name is? she said suspiciously.It’s Connie.Maybe and maybe not.I know my Connie, he said, wagging his finger. Just for a ride, Connie sweetheart.I never said my name was Connie, she said” (Oates 132).It’s intriguing that he isn’t supposed to know her name since she never told him. That’s where a controlling image comes into play because he planned everything out. It shows that he’s been studying her.

During the course of the story Arnold friend character is very questionable because he certainly knows a lot about her considering this is the first time that they are meeting. Arnold friend character is also very controlling and gets mad at her being she’s being difficult when he offers her a ride. His demeanor changes because he wants her to go with him already and he’s impatient which suggest that he still has more plans than just going for a ride.According to New Health Advisor there is ten warning signs a psychopath which are, “manipulative, impulsiveness, the lack of empathy, dishonesty, proclivity for violence, superficiality, high intelligence, arrogance, a faulty moral compass, and lack of culpability”

Arnold friend expresses his manipulative ways by him trying to convince her to get a ride with him. All of these signs are meaningful because in everything Arnold friend does suggests that he is a psychopath.For instance, when Connie tries to tell both of them to go away he gets frustrated so, “He wobbled again and out of the side of his mouth came a fast spat curse, an aside not meant for her to hear. But even this Christ! sounded forced. Then he began to smile again. She watched this smile come, awkward as if he were smiling from inside a mask.” (Oates 136).

Arnold friend doesn’t intend for his impulsiveness to come out but it’s a distinct representation that he has signs of being a psychopath. The word Christ is like an impatient child trying to be seen. He smiles at the end makes him seem like he didn’t realize what he did before and makes him appear crazy. She points out that his smile was coming from inside a mask, like he was two faced, plus he’s hiding something.His lack of empathy and lack of moral compass is a big component in defining him a psychopath. When Connie doesn’t do want he wants and tell him to leave or she’s going to call the cops. He stays calm but tells her if she touches the phone he’s going to break through the screen door and go inside, but if she listens he won’t.

Connie’s instinct goes to the phone tries to call 911 however, he breaks through the door and starts stabbing her. He calmly tells her, “The place where you came from ain’t there any more, and where you had in mind to go is cancelled out. This place you are now—inside your daddy’s house—is nothing but a cardboard box I can knock down any time. You know that and always did know it. You hear me?”(Oates 139). Arnold friend does all of this in a calmly manner not caring what’s going to happen to him if he gets caught. He only sees that he wants Connie. He doesn’t care about stabbing her, he lacks that empathy for her because she didn’t listen to her. Now he’s taking her away not caring about her family and saying that no matter what she does he will always find her. Like it’s just another cardboard box he can conquer.

All in all, Arnold friend has some serious issues continuously showing signs of being obsessive when he knows her name and where she lives without even talking to her. When his manipulative and impulsive ways by trying to make her get into his car. Plus, when he said Christ and he didn’t even realize it. His smile is devious and senseless. He illustrates how he doesn’t have any empathy by stabbing her and not caring to think of the consequences.

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