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Contextual Analysis of Joyce Carol Oates' Short Stort - Essay Example

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The following essay example represents a contextual analysis of the short story titled “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” written by Joyce Carol Oates. The analysis includes a character summarizing, which is focused on the protagonist. The paper also outlines the idea of the story…
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"Contextual Analysis of Joyce Carol Oates' Short Stort"

Download file to see previous pages Connie is presented as a teenage girl who is more concerned about her looks than her behavior. Connie assumes two different roles; while she is at home she behaves like a child but her behavior is completely different when she is outdoors, roaming with her friends in the evenings. “Everything about her had two sides to it, one for home and one for anywhere that was not home: her walk, which could be childlike and bobbing, or languid enough ….like the jingling of the charms on her bracelet.”. She is happier in her dreamy world, relishing her meetings with the boys, than focusing on how her behavior could evoke different responses from different people. Connie’s over-confidence stemming from her self-image, brings forth the impact self image has on the behavior and attitude of an individual. As Connie is well aware of her pretty looks and the effect, her prettiness has on other people, she aims to utilize her that to create an impression on young boys.
She is concerned about the effect her looks have on other people and even checks the mirror quite often because of that. “She was fifteen and she had a quick, nervous giggling habit of craning her neck to glance into mirrors or checking other people's faces to make sure her own was all right.”. She is pleased when she notices that her beauty is having the desired effect on the people. Even when her mother reprimands Connie for admiring herself, Connie pays no heed to her mother’s complaints. “Connie would raise her eyebrows at these familiar old 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 15). She enjoys the attention of the boys and it this quality of hers that lands her into trouble. It happens through the character of Arnold Friend. “She is going to her death, and her fate is largely the result of her a consciousness shaped by the frantic life of cruising in fast cars…. anonymous boys, consciousness epitomized by the frantic music she listens.” (Quirk 197). Arnold Friend is the person who is attracted towards Connie and in spite of her reluctance, forces her to come with him. She fails to realize that her behavior was attracting the attention of an evil person. “It was a boy with shaggy black hair, in a convertible jalopy painted gold. He stared at her and then his lips widened into a grin…… glancing back and there he was, still watching her. He wagged a finger and laughed and said, "Gonna get you, baby.” (Oates 28). That is because, Arnold is first presented as a polite boy who is captivated by the beauty of Connie and wants to spend some time with her. But his true characteristics are revealed when Connie refuses to go along with him for a ride. He is older than he tries to portray, and enforces his wish on Connie by threatening her that he will harm her family members. Arnold ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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