The Negative Consequences of Making Serious Changes at a Young Age in the Book Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been by Joyce Carol Oates

In Where Are You Going, Where have you been, by Joyce Carol Oates the message of coming of age is revealed by displaying the negative consequences of making serious changes and decisions at a young age that completely alter your life leaving you alone in darkness. A fifteen year old girl named Connie, commits adult actions at her early age and subconsciously tries to mature too quickly. Connie is aware that “she’s pretty” and is overly concerned of her appearance giving her the habit of glancing “into mirrors” as well as looking at “other people’s faces to make sure her own is okay”(32).

The technique used in this portion of the story is implicit characterization where a character’s traits have to be interpreted based on their actions.

The effect of the technique allows the interpretation of Connie as being conceited and self centered. The significance of the technique is Connie’s characteristics and obsession of her appearance demonstrating that she living beyond her age.

One day when Connie was hanging out with her female friends and eventually parted, going with one of her male friends, Eddie, where “she spent three hours with him” in his car (33). The technique the author uses here is diction giving the effect of interpretation that Connie is experiencing inappropriate things with Eddie.

The significance is it shows her attempt in aging too quickly by permitting adult decisions that will lead her life go down the wrong path soon having to deal with the consequences to soon unprepared. After her experience with Eddie, she encountered a mysterious man, eventually discovered as Arnold Friend, who later arrived to her house the next day and offered her a ride to the unknown threatening to harm her family if she did not tag along. Fearing the results of what could happen if she declined Arnold’s ride offer, she cooperated and “pushed the door slowly open” and felt “the linoleum under her feet” going along with Arnold (42). The technique the author uses is symbolism, and diction giving the effect that Arnold symbolizes Connie’s consequences of her adult changes and decisions, where he would take her to place of suffering and be alone in darkness paying for what she’d done to herself. The effect of the diction is “Arnold Friend” can be looked upon as “An old Fiend”. The significance is it displays that the punisher, Arnold Friend, is an old fiend of those who have done the same as Connie in trying to age to quickly and displaying that decisions and changes matter. A person’s choices in their life are crucial when decided young age, placing huge impacts on where they can make them suffer helplessly and alone.

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The Negative Consequences of Making Serious Changes at a Young Age in the Book Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been by Joyce Carol Oates. (2022, May 14). Retrieved from

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