Which aspects of teenage culture have changed in the nearly fifty years since Oates wrote the story? Which have stayed the same? Given the scope of these changes, is the story dated?
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I suppose the duality of teenagers is relevant. Connie likes the belonging of home yet wants her independence away from home. The motif of the adolescent girl/mother struggle is here as well as the near absent father figure. These things have not changed; the challenges of being an adolescent are ever present in many ways. I think the ending is rather manipulative. It looks as if she goes off with Arnold Friend which doesn't quite make sense within the context of what is happening.