Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

by

Joyce Carol Oates

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The protagonist of the story, Connie is a pretty fifteen-year-old girl who loves spending time with her friends and flirting with boys. Connie takes great pleasure in her appearance, so much so that her mother often scolds her for being vain. Nonetheless, Connie’s long blonde hair and general good looks make her supremely confident, and she enjoys the power she holds over boys her own age. Meanwhile, she feels suffocated by her home life and resents her mother’s attempts to control her behavior as well as constant, unfavorable comparisons between her and her older sister, June. In many ways a typical teenager, Connie is eager to grow up and date; she also loves popular music, which has come to shape her expectations of romantic relationships and life in general. As the story unfolds, however, it becomes clear that Connie is hardly as mature and powerful as she would like to believe, and her vulnerability attracts the attention of the sinister Arnold Friend. When Friend arrives at Connie’s house, he comments on how he was drawn to her because of her physical appearance, that her family will not return to help her, and that he intends to take her away with him and rape her. Over the course of their conversation, Connie becomes increasingly alarmed and disturbed, and her confidence and sense of control is slowly worn down until her free will is seemingly obliterated altogether. By the time she passively submits to Friend, she is experiencing such intense alienation that she sees herself in the third person and has seemingly accepted her fate. Though the story ends with her stepping out of her house, it is heavily implied that Friend later murders her.

Connie Quotes in Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

The Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? quotes below are all either spoken by Connie or refer to Connie. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Appearances and Deception Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harper Collins edition of Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? published in 2006.
Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? Quotes

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. Her mother, who noticed everything and knew everything and who hadn't much reason any longer to look at her own face, always scolded Connie about it.

Related Characters: Connie, Arnold Friend, Connie’s Mother
Page Number: 118
Explanation and Analysis:

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 to make anyone think she was hearing music in her head; her mouth, which was pale and smirking most of the time, but bright and pink on these evenings out; her laugh, which was cynical and drawling at home—“Ha, ha, very funny”—but highpitched and nervous anywhere else, like the jingling of the charms on her bracelet.

Related Characters: Connie
Related Symbols: Music
Page Number: 119-120
Explanation and Analysis:

She drew her shoulders up and sucked in her breath with the pure pleasure of being alive, and just at that moment she happened to glance at a face just a few feet from hers. 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. Connie slit her eyes at him and turned away, but she couldn't help glancing back and there he was, still watching her. He wagged a finger and laughed and said, “Gonna get you, baby,” and Connie turned away again without Eddie noticing anything.

Related Characters: Connie, Arnold Friend, Eddie
Related Symbols: Arnold Friend’s Car
Page Number: 120-121
Explanation and Analysis:

Connie sat with her eyes closed in the sun, dreaming and dazed with the warmth about her as if this were a kind of love, the caresses of love, and her mind slipped over onto thoughts of the boy she had been with the night before and how nice he had been, how sweet it always was […] sweet, gentle, the way it was in movies and promised in songs […]

Related Characters: Connie, Arnold Friend, Eddie
Related Symbols: Music
Page Number: 122
Explanation and Analysis:

“Now, these numbers are a secret code, honey,” Arnold Friend explained. He read off the numbers 33, 19, 17 and raised his eyebrows at her to see what she thought of that, but she didn't think much of it.

Related Characters: Arnold Friend (speaker), Connie
Related Symbols: Arnold Friend’s Car
Page Number: 124
Explanation and Analysis:

He was standing in a strange way, leaning back against the car as if he were balancing himself. He wasn't tall, only an inch or so taller than she would be if she came down to him. Connie liked the way he was dressed, which was the way all of them dressed: tight faded jeans stuffed into black, scuffed boots a belt that pulled his waist in and showed how lean he was, and a white pull-over shirt that was a little soiled and showed the hard small muscles of his arms and shoulders.

Related Characters: Connie, Arnold Friend
Page Number: 125
Explanation and Analysis:

“Yes, I'm your lover. You don't know what that is but you will,” he said. “I know that too. I know all about you […] I'm always nice at first, the first time. I'll hold you so tight you won't think you have to try to get away or pretend anything because you'll know you can't. And I'll come inside you where it's all secret and you'll give in to me and you'll love me—"

Related Characters: Arnold Friend (speaker), Connie
Page Number: 130
Explanation and Analysis:

Arnold Friend was saying from the door, “That's a good girl. Put the phone back.” […] She picked it up and put it back. The dial tone stopped. “That's a good girl. Now, you come outside.” […] She thought, I'm not going to see my mother again. She thought, I'm not going to sleep in my bed again.

Related Characters: Arnold Friend (speaker), Connie, Connie’s Mother
Related Symbols: Connie’s House
Page Number: 134
Explanation and Analysis:

“My sweet little blue-eyed girl,” he said in a half-sung sigh that had nothing to do with her brown eyes but was taken up just the same by the vast sunlit reaches of the land behind him and on all sides of him—so much land that Connie had never seen before and did not recognize except to know that she was going to it.

Related Characters: Arnold Friend (speaker), Connie
Related Symbols: Connie’s House
Page Number: 136
Explanation and Analysis:
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Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? PDF

Connie Character Timeline in Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

The timeline below shows where the character Connie appears in Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?
Appearances and Deception Theme Icon
Agency, Control, and Manipulation Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence  Theme Icon
Connie is a pretty fifteen-year-old girl with a “nervous, giggling habit of craning her neck to... (full context)
Appearances and Deception Theme Icon
Music and Romantic Fantasy Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence  Theme Icon
Connie often goes to the shopping plaza three miles away with her best girlfriend. They catch... (full context)
Agency, Control, and Manipulation Theme Icon
The Presence of Evil  Theme Icon
Music and Romantic Fantasy Theme Icon
On her way to Eddie’s car, Connie feels overwhelmingly happy, a feeling she connects to the music playing more than her excitement... (full context)
Appearances and Deception Theme Icon
Because it’s summer vacation, Connie is spending a lot of time around the house, dreaming about boys and the excitement... (full context)
Music and Romantic Fantasy Theme Icon
One Sunday, Connie’s family go to a barbecue. Connie refuses to attend, however, rolling her eyes “to let... (full context)
Appearances and Deception Theme Icon
The Presence of Evil  Theme Icon
Music and Romantic Fantasy Theme Icon
While listening to the music, Connie pays “close attention to herself” and once more feels an intense joy that seems to... (full context)
Appearances and Deception Theme Icon
The Presence of Evil  Theme Icon
Music and Romantic Fantasy Theme Icon
Connie goes into the kitchen and watches the boys in the car through the screen door.... (full context)
Appearances and Deception Theme Icon
Agency, Control, and Manipulation Theme Icon
The Presence of Evil  Theme Icon
Connie is unable to decide whether or not she likes the boy and asks him about... (full context)
Appearances and Deception Theme Icon
Agency, Control, and Manipulation Theme Icon
The Presence of Evil  Theme Icon
Music and Romantic Fantasy Theme Icon
As Friend stands beside the car, Connie observes his appearance; he is dressed the way all teenage boys dress (tight jeans, boots,... (full context)
Appearances and Deception Theme Icon
Agency, Control, and Manipulation Theme Icon
The Presence of Evil  Theme Icon
Friend lists the names of Connie’s friends and tells her that they’ve met before—she must just not remember him. He tells... (full context)
Appearances and Deception Theme Icon
Agency, Control, and Manipulation Theme Icon
The Presence of Evil  Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence  Theme Icon
...daze until Friend pounds on the car to get his attention. When Ellie turns toward Connie, she is shocked to realize that he isn’t a kid either—he has “the face of... (full context)
Appearances and Deception Theme Icon
Agency, Control, and Manipulation Theme Icon
The Presence of Evil  Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence  Theme Icon
Connie claims that her father is coming home soon, but Friend says, “He ain’t coming. He’s... (full context)
Agency, Control, and Manipulation Theme Icon
Music and Romantic Fantasy Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence  Theme Icon
Friend is unperturbed by Connie’s threats to call the police. Ellie asks if Friend wants him to pull out the... (full context)
Agency, Control, and Manipulation Theme Icon
The Presence of Evil  Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence  Theme Icon
Friend repeats that that Connie should come out of the house herself, before asking “Don’t you know who I am?”... (full context)
Agency, Control, and Manipulation Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence  Theme Icon
Connie picks up the telephone but can only hear a roaring sound and is unable to... (full context)
Agency, Control, and Manipulation Theme Icon
The Presence of Evil  Theme Icon
Loss of Innocence  Theme Icon
Friend tells Connie, “The place where you came from ain't there anymore, and where you had in mind... (full context)