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Where are you going where have you been critical essays

Oates may have drawn on the Persephone myth for her short story. Source "Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been? Oates draws on mythology, music, and modern culture in order to create her story. Here is a summary, analysis and breakdown of some of the sources and inspiration she used along with an interpretation of their meaning. Just like any teenager she sneaks around, going to a drive-in restaurant to meet boys rather than to the movies like she told her family.

She is rebellious and flippant and has a bad relationship with her mother.

  • At the drive-in she first meets Arnold Friend who creepily makes a "sign" in the air and let's her know that he's after her;
  • Here is a summary, analysis and breakdown of some of the sources and inspiration she used along with an interpretation of their meaning;
  • By blending the mythical elements of the Persephone myth with rock music and the invincible attitude of Connie, Oates highlights the dangers of modern youth.

At the drive-in she first meets Arnold Friend who creepily makes a "sign" in the air and let's her know that he's after her. She shrugs it off as a creepy guy. The following Sunday, Connie's family is going to a barbecue but Connie opts to stay home so she can listen to music and hang out.

Arnold Friend and his side kick Ellie show up in his gold convertible.

True Life Serial Killer

At first Connie thinks it's interesting and she flirts with him. But then she realizes he's there to take her.

After she runs in the house and makes a failed attempt to call for help, he lures her out. He threatens her and her family if she doesn't cooperate.

As if under a spell, Connie obeys him and the story ends with her walking down the path to the car. The implication is that she will never return. Schmid killed three young women before he was caught. Known as the Pied Piper of Tucson, Schmid befriended his victims, partying and hanging out with them, before he murdered them. The Pied Piper reference refers to his almost mystical ability to lure the victims to their death.

This shows the first mythical reference, the Pied Piper, that Oates used to build the layers of the story. Much like the PIed Piper, Friend is able to lure Connie out of the house and to her probable death using only his words and the strange sounds of the music that was playing both in the house and in his car.

But the use of myth goes even deeper.

  • While the meaning to Friend may be different, the message from Oates to the reader is clear;
  • The song says that "the sky too is folding under you" which echoes the scene where Connie's legs get weak as Arnold is talking to her through the door;
  • Is Arnold Friend a modern day Pied Piper?
  • This created a story that is likely to be read, analyzed and discussed for generations;
  • Some of the clues to Friend's true identity include;
  • Schmid killed three young women before he was caught.

Mythology Joyce Carol Oates draws heavily on mythology in order to build the core of her story. Comparing Connie to the mythical Persephone helps the reader to understand her place, her actions and who Arnold Friend really seems to be.

In the myth of Persephone, the young goddess and daughter of Zeus and Demeter is kidnapped by god of the underworld, Hades. Demeter, the goddess who controlled the seasons and harvest, was so distraught that the land became barren. Zeus was forced to intervene and command that Hades return Persephone to her mother. Hades complied but he tricked Persephone into eating a pomegranate before she left. The significance of this act meant that she would have to return to the underworld.

So in short, Persephone spent two seasons with her mother and Demeter's happiness caused the spring and summer. When she went back to Hades to be Queen of the Underworld, her mother's grief caused the fall and winter seasons.

Is Arnold Friend a modern day Pied Piper? Connie represents the gullable Persephone, and Friend is Hades. However, Oates gives Friend some more sinister charcteristics, more recognizable as the modern interpretation of the devil rather than just the god of the underworld.

This would help the modern reader to recognize who he truly is and what his intentions are. Some of the clues to Friend's true identity include: His hair seems to be a wig and is lopsided horns? Seems to walk strangely perhaps because of hooves Make-up on his face He never comes in the house the devil can't come in unless invited He seems familiar to Connie He declares he knows everyone and everything His uncanny ability to lure her Playing rock music it's the devil's music after all His name remove the "r's" and you get "an old fiend" Threatens to use fire to bring her out of the house Readers often feel frustrated with Connie because she doesn't try to get away and doesn't fight.

The song says that "the sky too is folding under you" which echoes the scene where Connie's legs get weak as Arnold is talking to her through the door. Friend refers to himself as Connie's lover, which is similar to the line "Your lover who just walked out the door. At the end of the story, Friend refers to Connie's blue eyes, a reference to the "baby blue" of the story.

Oates, however, indicates that Connie's eyes are really brown. Modern Culture Oates seems to be pointing a finger at modern culture.

  • Connie represents the gullable Persephone, and Friend is Hades;
  • Simply add the numbers together to understand the reference;
  • The real life criminal Charles Schmid also played a role in the development of Arnold Friend's character;
  • Some of the clues to Friend's true identity include:

By blending the mythical elements of the Persephone myth with rock music and the invincible attitude of Connie, Oates highlights the dangers of modern youth. Rock music is playing in all of the important scenes of the story. Oates uses the music to help highlight Connie's youthfulness and at the same time examine her ignorance about the way the real world works and the true meaning behind the rock lyrics.

When Friend comes to Connie and tells her that he knows she doesn't know what a lover is, he purposefully both scares her and makes her understand she is moving from a world of innocence to experience.

You may only need to look to the Bible to find the source for Oates' title. While the meaning to Friend may be different, the message from Oates to the reader is clear. The code, 33, 19, 17 has at least two meanings. First, the reader can discover the title of the story. By counting backwards in the Old Testament of the Bible, 33 books, you will arrive at the book of Judges.

Go to chapter 19, verse 17. Although it depends on your translation, the verse reads: Would the devil use the Bible in the proper way? The other meaning may come from Arnold's intentions toward Connie. Simply add the numbers together to understand the reference. She combined inspiration from the music of Bob Dylan along with her understanding of modern culture and society.

Short Story Analysis "Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?"

The real life criminal Charles Schmid also played a role in the development of Arnold Friend's character. This created a story that is likely to be read, analyzed and discussed for generations.

Clip From Movie Version of "Where are you going? Where have you been?