In “Where are you going, Where have you been?’ Oates explores the issues concerning sexual predators and how the attitude towards this topic in our society not only jeopardizes one’s self-worth but is also connected to sexual violence and violence in general toward women. The story was inspired by a magazine story about a teenage killer in Arizona in 1966. Charles Schmidt, who was the mastermind behind these deaths, was a 23-year-old ex-high school students who have been suspended in his senior year for stealing tools from his welding class, as a result, he took advantage of that by hanging out outside his high school. He had a charisma and charm that made him attractive to young girls from the neighborhood and since he was the son of wealthy parents, and he used this to attract and lure teenagers into his realm. Unknowingly to the town of Tucson, he was a serial killer, and three teenage girls became his victims. Oates use of setting, narration, character reveals the extent to which the text uncovers the unbearable life of the sexual predator and the community is affected by this innovating concerns in the society that render children vulnerable to child predators.Connie is portrayed as somewhat egocentric and callow and this remains explicit because the approach in the way her life was narrated is sympathetic to a great extent. The author of this text recognizes and empathizes with Connie’s excitement over her increasing freedom and entry into the adult milestone.
Her seemingly reckless behavior is the result of regretful pains that keep ascending as time passes and the irony in the fact that she attempts to adjust to the cultural expectations of womanhood eventually leading to her transgressing in sins and perhaps ignorance, are those of every teenager in the country. For these sins, if they can be called sins at all, Connie pays a tremendous and horrifying price and Oates senses the tragedy in her fate, ultimately sympathizing with herThe protagonist of the story, Connie, 15 years of age and beautiful but cared about no one but herself and who not only is at odds with her family but also her family’s values. She, unknowing to her parents, spends her evenings by going out flirting and picking up boys at a local diner. One evening she catches the attention of a boy who drives a gold convertible at a restaurant whose name was Arnold Friend which is ironic because that is the last thing Arnold wants to be.
Occasionally, when he shows up at Connie’s house after her parents have left, the way she feels about the situation is complicated because she is neither happy nor mad that he is there and also was not sure what to make of it. The question of if Connie’s parent had not been negligent, it wouldn’t have contributed to Connie’s vulnerability and Perhaps if Connie had acted cultured as she played herself off as she may have been able to handle the situation he put her in better. Connie’s attitude shifts from excitement at the presence of Arnold, however, transitions as their conversation progresses and realizes the danger he poses.
Tension is created through the conversation on (296,306) when Friend says “Now you be a good girl,” She slowly builds internal observations about Friend’s appearance. Connie’s perspective enhances the way the audience connects with the actions of the choice of the characters and sometimes get confused about things she does since most of the story is restricted to her perspective. An instance where the narrative point of view was exemplified is the scene in which Connie is so shaken with terror that she couldn’t bring herself to call the police (144) and we’re told that she is “locked” in a “noisy sorrowful wailing. Our confusion as readers helps us feel Connie’s terror and On the other hand, using the third person instead of letting Connie tell the story through her perspective gives the narrative an effective and suspenseful atmosphere. Throughout “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” June serves as a reminder of what Connie is and is not, modeling a more conservative vision of womanhood. Her mother criticizes Connie for failing to live up to June’s wholesome example as well as Arnold Friend who have noticed the differences also compared her sister, telling Connie her older sibling is “nothing like her” (9).
The moment where Connie asks “What are you going to do?” and Friend replies, “Just two things, or maybe three,” frightens Connie who runs into the back room towards the phone to call the cops, when he tells Connie if she doesn’t cooperate he will harm her family. As Connie walks towards him, he then proceeds to tell her that her family would never “have done this for her,” implying that she is willing to sacrifice herself to keep her family safe (14). The reader wants her to use the phone, to try to call for help, and this moment resolves that tension through Connie’s failure to do so. Oates addresses the question of dramatization and characterization that were developed in the text about the conflict on different nature of motivations that directed the choice of her characters and their course of action by displaying a strong emphasis on the motivating factors and their consequences of each choice made by his characters. In particular, Connie, who is the main character of the play, gradually moves through despairing emotions and angry moods due to her parents not there to watch over her and makes her life complicated related to the scene from “The lovely bones” where Harvey’s mother leaves his family when he was very young which has a long-lasting effect on him.
Oates demonstrates in his characters that personal desires can cause an individual to do certain things because they choose to conform to a different image by possessing a flaw at the end of the day and once the desire to achieve power is established they will likely go to great extent to achieve it.