Where Are You Going? Where Have You been?

Literature / April 23, 2015 / No Comments /
Discusses characterization & symbolism of short story by Joyce Carol Oates.

In the short story Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?, Joyce Carol Oates develops a sense of inevitability in the story of a young girl placed in an untenable position by a situation and a reality that is not that uncommon. From the first, this is a teenaged girl who is part of a family yet who feels separate from that family to a great degree. She has reached the age where she wants to live her own life, yet she is not equipped to do so in more than token ways. She may believe that she is more independent and capable than she is, and this gets her into real trouble when the interestingly named Arnold Friend sets his sights on her. Oates develops her image of teenage life and of its hidden threats through strong characterization and symbolism.
The way Oates uses language in the opening of the story…

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