Where Are You Going Where Have You Been Criticism Essay

Q: How do I find the books and articles listed below?
A: Check your local library, and ask a librarian; they often have access to full-text online articles that you can’t get for free on the web.


Books

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?
Edited and with an Introduction by Elaine Showalter
New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 1994


A Source for the Story

Moser, Don
“The Pied Piper of Tucson: He Cruised in a Golden Car, Looking for the Action”
Life
(March 4, 1966): 19-24, 80-90


Articles

Mayberry, Susan Neal.
“‘Everything about Her Had Two Sides to It’: The Foreigner’s Home in Toni Morrison’s Paradise.”
African American Review
42.3-4 (2008): 565-578.

Theriot, Michele D.
The Eternal Present in Joyce Carol Oates’s “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”
Journal of the Short Story in English
48 (Spring 2007)

Sutton, Brian.
“An Unconsciousness: The Influence of Flannery O’Connor’s Novels on Joyce Carol Oates’s ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been'”
Flannery O’Connor Review
4 (2006): 54-68.

Cruise, James.
“‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?’ and Cold War Hermeneutics.” 
South Central Review: The Journal of the South Central Modern Language Association
22.2 (2005): 95-109.

Martha E. Widmayer
Death and the Maiden in Joyce Carol Oates’s “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?”
Journal of the Short Story in English
42 (Spring 2004)

Wilson,-Jordan, Jacqueline
“Joyce Carol Oates’s ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?’ As an Initiation Story”
Eureka Studies in Teaching Short Fiction
3, ii (Spring 2003): 47-58

Cioe, Paul
“‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?’ and the Fantasies of the Unconscious”
Eureka Studies in Teaching Short Fiction
3, ii (Spring 2003): 92-97

Barendse, Nancy.
“Connie Turns Fifty: ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?’ as Postmodern Experience.”
Postscript: Publication of the Philological Association of the Carolinas 20 (2003): 24-30.

Ellis, Anthony.
“Joyce Carol Oates’ ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?’: The Identity of Ellie Oscar, Reconsidered.”
Short Story
10.2 (2002): 55-61.

Symington, Rodney
“Response to Alan Latta, ‘Spinell and Connie: Joyce Carol Oates Re-Imagining Thomas Mann?’”
Connotations: A Journal for Critical Debate
11, i (2001-2002): 116-125

Davis, Christian R.
“Where Are We Going, Where Have We Been? The Temporality of Spirituality in Satanic Temptation Narratives”
Christian Scholar’s Review
29, iii (Spring 2000): 455-469

Hagarty, Monika.
“Violent Loss of Innocence in Joyce Carol Oates’s Short Stoies ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?’ and ‘The Man That Turned into a Statue'”
Reflections on Ethical Values in Post(?) Modern American Literature. Ed. Teresa Pyzik and Paweł Jędrzejko. Katowice, Poland: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego, 2000. 139-51.

Slimp, Stephen
“Oates’s ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'”
Explicator
57, iii (Spring 1999): 179-181

Hurley, C. Harold
“The Influence of Fannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood on Joyce Carol Oates’s ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?’”
Religious Humanism
33, i/ii (Winter 1999): 68-80

Kozikowski, Stan
“The Wishes and Dreams Our Hearts Make in Oates’s ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?’”
Journal of the Short Story in English
33 (Autumn, 1999): 89-103

Latta, Alan D.
“Spinell and Connie: Joyce Carol Oates Re-Imagining Thomas Mann?”
Connotations: A Journal for Critical Debate
9, iii (1999-2000): 316-329

Mezo, Richard E.
“Opening the Door to Understanding Joyce Carol Oates’s ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'”
Short Stories in the Classroom. Ed. Carole L. Hamilton and Peter Kratzke. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English, 1999. 185-90.

Kozikowski, Stanley
“Successfully Merchandising Hamburgers: The Eschatological Vision of Joyce Carol Oates’s ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?’”
Notes on Contemporary Literature
27, iii (May 1997): 6-7

Moss, Joyce, and George Wilson.
“Overview: ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'”
Literature and Its TimesProfiles of 300 Notable Literary Works and the Historical Events that Influenced Them. Vol. 4: World War II to the Affluent Fifties (1940-1950s).
Detroit: Gale, 1997

Daly, Brenda
“Sexual Politics in Two Collections of Joyce Carol Oates’s Short Fiction”
Studies in Short Fiction
32.1 (Winter 1995) 83-93.

Gentry, Marshall Bruce
“O’Connor’s Legacy in Stories by Joyce Carol Oates and Paula Sharp.”
The Flannery O’Connor Bulletin
23 (1994-1995): 44-60.

Johnson, Greg
“Early Feminism”
Joyce Carol Oates: A Study of the Short Fiction. Ed. Greg Johnson.
New York: Twayne, 1994. 41-42.

Nancy Bishop Dessommes
“O’Connor’s Mrs. May and Oates’s Connie: An Unlikely Pair of Religious Initiates”
Studies in Short Fiction
31, iii (Summer 1994): 433-440

Wagner-Martin, Linda
“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”
Reference Guide to Short Fiction. Noelle Watson, ed.
Detroit: St. James Press, 1994, pp. 967-968

Hurley, D. F.
“Impure Realism: Joyce Carol Oates’s ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'”
Studies in Short Fiction
28, iii (Summer 1991): 371-375

Piwinski, David J.
“Oates’s ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'”
Explicator
49, iii (Spring 1991): 195-196

Easterly, Joan
“The Shadow of the Satyr in Oates’s ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'”
Studies in Short Fiction
27, iv (Fall 1990): 537-543

Coulthard, A. R.
“Joyce Carol Oates’s ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?’ as Pure Realism”
Studies in Short Fiction
26, iv (Fall 1989): 505-510

Weinberger, G. J.
“Who is Arnold Friend? The Other Self in Joyce Carol Oates’s ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'”
American Imago
45, ii (Summer 1988): 205-215

Hall Petry, Alice
“Who is Ellie? Oates’ ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'”
Studies in Short Fiction
25, ii (Spring 1988): 155-157

Hurley, C. Harold
“Cracking the Secret Code in Oates’s ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'”
Studies in Short Fiction
24, i (Winter 1987): 62-66

Gratz, David K.
“Oates’s ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'”
Explicator
45, iii (Spring 1987): p55-56

Johnson, Greg
“The Short Stories (I) : The Wheel of Love”
Understanding Joyce Carol Oates
Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1987, p92-116

Robson, Mark B.
“Joyce Carol Oates’s ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?’ Arnold Friend as Devil, Dylan, and Levite”
Publications of the Mississippi Philological Association
(1985): 98-105

Tierce, Mike and Crafton, John Michael
“Connie’s Tambourine Man: A New Reading of Arnold Friend”
Studies in Short Fiction
22, ii (Spring 1985): 219-224

Rubin, Larry
“Oates’s ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'”
Explicator
42, iv (Summer 1984): 57-59

Healey, James
“Pop Music and Joyce Carol Oates’s ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'”
Notes on Modern American Literature
7, i (Spring-Summer 1983): item 5

Robson, Mark
“Oates’s ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'”
Explicator
40, iv (Summer 1982): 59-60

Marsden Gillis, Christina
“‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?’: Seduction, Space, and a Fictional Mode”
Studies in Short Fiction
18, i (Winter 1981): 65-70

Quirk, Tom
“A Source for ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'”
Studies in Short Fiction
18, iv (Fall 1981): 413-420

Harty, Kevin J.
“Archetype and Popular Lyric in Joyce Carol Oates’s ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'”
Pennsylvania English
8, i (1980-81): 26-28

Schultz, Gretchen and Rockwood, R.J.R.
“In Fairyland, without a Map: Connie’s Exploration Inward in Joyce Carol Oates’s ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'”
Literature and Psychology
30, iii-iv (1980): 155-167

Winslow, Joan D.
“The Stranger Within: Two Stories by Oates and Hawthorne”
Studies in Short Fiction
17, iii (Summer 1980): 262-268

Creighton, Joanne V.
“Joyce Carol Oates’s Craftmanship in The Wheel of Love”
Studies in Short Fiction

15.4 (Fall 1978): 375-384

Mitchell Oleson Urbanski, Marie
“Existential Allegory: Joyce Carol Oates’s ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'”
Studies in Short Fiction
15, ii (Spring 1978): 200-203

Wegs, Joyce M.
“‘Don’t You Know Who I Am?’: The Grotesque in Oates’s ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'”
Journal of Narrative Technique
5, i (January 1975): 66-72

Sullivan, Walter
“Where Have All the Flowers Gone?: The Short Story in Search of Itself”
Sewanee Review
78, iii (Summer 1970): 535-537


The Movie: Smooth Talk

Dickinson, Peter
“Riding in Cars with Boys: Reconsidering Smooth Talk”
Literature-Film Quarterly
36.3 (July 2008)

Summer, Rebecca
“Smoothing Out the Rough Spots: The Film Adaptation of ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?’”
Vision/Revision: Adapting Contemporary American Fiction by Women to Film. Barbara Tepa Lupack, ed.
Bowling Green, OH: Popular, 1996, pp. 85-100

Daly, Brenda O.
“An Unfilmable Conclusion: Joyce Carol Oates at the Movies”
Journal of Popular Culture
23, iii (Winter 1989): 101-114

Oates, Joyce Carol
“‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?’ and Smooth Talk: Short Story into Film”
(Woman) Writer : Occasions and Opportunities
New York: Dutton, 1988, pp. 316-321

Rich, B. Ruby
“Good Girls, Bad Girls”
Village Voice
(April 15, 1986): 69


Image: Death and the Maiden by Egon Schiele


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Posted on By Randy SoutherResearch & ScholarshipPosted in Research & ScholarshipTagged #Joyce Carol Oates, Where Are You Going Where Have You Been?

Oates’s masterful mixing of literal and figurative, psychological and allegorical levels makes “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” a powerful and fascinating story. This mix is particularly evident in her depiction of both Connie’s and Arnold’s double identities. Connie carefully pulls her sweater down tight when she leaves home: “Everything about her had two sides to it, one for home and one for anywhere that was not home.” Arnold stuffs his boots in order to appear taller and more attractive or perhaps to hide the cloven feet of his satanic self. In Connie’s action, the reader recognizes the adolescent beginning to break away from her family and to test the powers of her emerging sexuality. In Arnold’s, the reader sees the devil’s traditional role as arch-deceiver and seducer. On a still deeper psychological level, Arnold Friend is the subconscious nightmare version of Connie’s waking desires and dreams, erotic love as her sister June might suppose it, not “sweet and gentle” as promised in Bobby King’s songs. Allegorically viewed, Friend brings the vehicle that will lead Connie to the “vast sunlit reaches” of the future, a metaphor that expresses the vagueness of her dreams while also representing an unknown—attractive, perilous, and as inevitable as death.

Though the story is heavy with thematic significance and symbolism, it also reads quickly because of Oates’s skill in building suspense. Each stage of Arnold Friend’s unmasking and Connie’s resulting terror and growing hysteria is carefully delineated. When Arnold first arrives, Connie cannot decide “if she liked him or if he was just a jerk.” The reader becomes more suspicious than she does as she notices his muscular neck and arms, his “nose long and hawk-like, sniffing as if she were a treat he was going to gobble up and it was all a joke.” Gradually, Connie realizes that all the characteristics she “recognizes” in him—dress, gestures, the “singsong way he talked”—do not come together the way they should. Her heart begins to pound faster when she questions his age and notices that his companion has the face of a forty-year-old baby. Worse yet, Arnold seems to possess preternatural vision to the point of describing all the guests at the family barbecue, what they are doing, how they are dressed. As he states more explicitly what he wants from her, Connie’s terror and the story’s suspense mount. When Arnold promises not to enter the house unless Connie picks up the phone, the reader may recall that the devil as evil spirit cannot cross a threshold uninvited. At this point, the end seems inevitable; in her presumed murderer’s words, “The place where you came from ain’t there any more, and where you had in mind to go is cancelled out.”

It is no wonder that “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” is the most frequently anthologized and critically acclaimed of Oates’s short stories. Its popularity is ensured by the famous Oates blend of violence, sex, and suspense; its place in the American literary canon by its thematic importance, Oates’s frightening vision of the contemporary American inability to recognize evil in its most banal forms.

Though many critics have complained about the gratuitous violence of Oates’s work and seem to distrust her extraordinary fluency (she produced more than thirty-five volumes of stories, novels, and literary criticism in her first twenty years as a published writer), this particular story demonstrates her ability to achieve tight compression and careful stylistic control. From the first line, “Her name was Connie,” to the last, “’My sweet little blue-eyed girl,’ he said, in a half-sung sigh that had nothing to do with her brown eyes,” this is a story in which every word counts.

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