English 1020 3

Discussion: “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” (closes June 19)
Class, after reading “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” please review ” Four Theories for Joyce Carol Oates” beneath Week 3 Module. You may believe that all of these theories are plausible and have textual support (and some may overlap), or you might just subscribe to one theory. For this board, discuss how you feel this story can be interpreted and what evidence supports that interpretation or interpretations (if choosing more than one theory). Please include a few direct quotes to support your points. When you have posted, please reply to at least two peers.
*Remember that you must post your own response first before being able to engage with your peers.
Joyce Carol Oates
“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been”
It has been suggested by literary critics that this rich, yet disturbing story, can be read in a variety of ways:
1) as a naturalistic story of a girl’s kidnapping by a psychopath—how realistic is this scenario?What would be the motive for the kidnapping?What happens to Connie?Explain her attraction/fear of this “kidnapper.”
**Note, the character of Arnold Friend was based on a real-life serial killer named Charles Schmid. Click on the link below for more:
2) as an exploration of the nature of evil and of its demonic sources—Arnold Friend as “the devil.”What basis is there for labeling Arnold as demonic?Is there physical evidence?Is there psychological and emotional evidence?How do you explain his extraordinary insight into Connie and his power over her?
3) as a dream of wish fulfillment with nightmarish qualities.If the story is read as a dream which begins when Connie falls asleep in the sun, what does that dream reveal about Connie’s needs and values?How might the dream be seen as a symbolic fulfillment of her wishes but not in the way that she had hoped love would be?
4) as a critique of popular culture—the story suggesting the seductive dangers of romantic dreams.What kind of music does Connie listen to?What kind of world does that music create?How do Connie’s friendships, the places where she hangs out, and her activities—in short, the youth culture that defines her—reinforce the effect of this music?How might this culture make young people like Connie vulnerable?How does Arnold exemplify the culture and its dangers?

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