Be Careful What You Wish For Anything that is too much is harmful. The main character in “Where are you going, Where have you been? ” Connie, faces the end conclusion of her shallow ways when she is approached by evil in human form. She had an excess of self-confidence. This self-confidence leads to a false sense of security and bad reputation. Connie also had a large amount of bad choices. She would do her best to impress boys with her looks; eventually she impressed the wrong guy. This short story by Joyce Carol Oates is an allegory tale for moral choice in modern times. Unfortunately we learn the most from stories with tragic endings.Order now
Through this story it is important for all girls to be careful what they wish for and the way they portray themselves, because the wrong attitude can lead you to the wrong person. Connie is clearly a girl of two minds; she was so full of herself. Most girls want to be attractive and noticed, but for Connie that was the only thing she had. I think that she based her confidence on her looks entirely without factoring in things like personality or family. Since it was her only escape, Connie would spend hours glancing in the mirrors and erasing her every flaw. Connie felt as if she stayed beautiful then everything will be fine.
The author even says, “”She knew she was pretty and that was everything. “(337) This is a problem because when a girl is just blind by her beauty they value nothing or no one. They can be very selfish and careless. The people who surrounded Connie knew how egotistical she was. Her mother even told her, “Stop Gawking at yourself, who are you? You think you are so pretty? ” (337) Mothers usually try to boost their child’s confidence so it’s evident that Connie had the inverse problem. Another thing I found interesting is that Connie assumed that her mother favored her sister, June, because she is not as pretty.
I don’t think that the mother felt bad for June, she was probably annoyed with Connie’s arrogance. Connie’s mother kept picking at her until Connie wished her mother was dead and she herself was dead and it was all over. “She makes me want to throw up sometimes,” she complained to her girlfriends. When her family goes to barbeque she decides not to go with them. “She wasn’t interested, rolling her eyes to let her mother know what she thought of it. ” Her attitude was very rude and careless. If a girl is far away from her family that ultimately gives a message that no one is important to her.
It’s very interesting though how in the end she sacrificed herself in order to save her family. This arrogance eventually gave Arnold Friend a path into her life. They saw each other once at a drive in restaurant. That night they both had made eye contact and he told her “Gonna get you, baby,” Connie never thought that her beauty one day will get her in trouble. If she just would have gone with her family to that barbeque she would have saved so much trouble. At this point Connie has no idea what his intentions are. The other factor that enabled Arnold Friend to successfully manipulate Connie was her history of bad judgment.
She would go off places without her parents knowing where she was. The author explains “The father of Connie’s best girl friend drove the girls the three miles to town and left them at a shopping plaza so they could walk through the stores or go to a movie, and when he came to pick them up again at eleven he never bothered to ask what they had done. ” (338) Then the author goes on to say “sometimes they went across the highway, ducking fast across the busy road, to a drive- in restaurant where older kids hung out,” (338) When someone’s parents do not know where they are, the chances of getting into real trouble multiply.
It was possible for her to get hurt or to be in an uncomfortable situation, without her parents having a clue. She is a young teenager and the last thing on her mind is someone out to hurt her. A very interesting factor is the way Arnold Friend was described in the story. Many of the physical descriptions of Friend are highly indicative of evil such as his eyes of black glass, his strong neck muscles, and the way he slides out of the car, all of which seem to point towards a sort of reptilian appearance.
Friend also provides a very cryptic code which seems to be both a tribute to the religious nature of the story as well as a warning to Connie. Friend tells Connie a series of numbers that he claims are “a secret code” (156). This code of numbers, 33 19 17, is the most illustrative example of Oates’s use of religion in this story. As Mark Robson points out in “Oates’s “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? ””, this sequence of numbers has biblical significance. Robson points out that counting backwards from the end of the bible yields Judges as the 33rd book, herein chapter 19 verse 17 reflects the title of the short story itself (Robson 230). Immediately, Arnold begins his quest to lure Connie into going for “a ride”. The more Connie talks with him, the more she starts to realize that Arnold is not just some wild young teenager but something far more dangerous. She begins to see the way that Arnold talks in a “singsong” (158) manner, that his hair may be a wig, and that he may be wearing makeup to appear young. Although she can sense the danger, she seems frozen with Arnold Friend. His nature becomes more threatening and his power over Connie takes hold.
Connie is so dazed that she doesn’t notice when Arnold seems to display the ability to see across town to the very picnic her are attending. Connie tries to call for help but she is so hypnotized by Arnold that she is helpless. He threatens her to kill her family by burning the house. Connie the spoiled materialistic girl doesn’t want her family hurt. She actually cares about her family and decides to listen to Arnold. This whole time Connie wanted attention and act older than her age and now she has this man telling her that she will be his lover. Connie is still innocent and doest want to get involved with him that way.
Connie once said that she disliked her mother and wished her mother was dead. Now Connie is in trouble and afraid “she cried out, she cried for her mother, she felt her breath start jerking back and forth in her lungs as if it were something Arnold Friend was stabbing her with again and again with no tenderness. ” Connie begins to realize how much her family means to her. Connie cries for her mother to protect her but sadly no one is there. This story reminds you to be careful what you wish for not everything is rainbows and butterflies. Unfortunately, Connie had to learn the hard way.