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American Fantasy Joyce Carol Oates Where Are You Going Where Have You Been represents the stark realities of real life invading the American Dream Connie the victim lives the ideal life of a rebellious teen She cruises the town goes on dates and listens to music that many adults find offensive Connies world is perfect until the evil Arnold Friend pulls up in her driveway on a lonely Sunday afternoon The events leading up to Connies abduction play an important role in creating the meaning of Where Are You Going Where Have You Been In the beginning of the story Connies mother says Stop gawking at yourself who are you You think youre so pretty Connie response was to raise her eyebrows at these familiar complaints and look right through her mother into a shadowy vision of herself as she was right at that moment she knew she was pretty and that was everything Oates 163 Joyce Carol Oates uses this scene to imply that in Connies mind she sees herself as beautiful and this implies Connies innocence in a dangerous world In Where Are You Going Where Have You Been Oates strongest asset is her ability to manipulate realistic elements to provide insight into the characters personalities Friedman 10 Connie and her friends frequently made a three-mile drive to a nearby shopping plaza On these trips they snuck off to be with older boys and changed their appearances from that of young girls to promiscuous young ladies Oates analysis is that Everything about her had two sides to it one for home and one for anywhere that was not home her walk that could be childlike and bobbing or languid enough to make anyone think she was hearing music in her head 163 Connie is attempting to overcome her plain life by living an alternate life on the weekends Joyce Carol Oates characters frequently fall short of their dreams mainly because their dreams
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