Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

A Fiend in Disguise in Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” College

A Fiend in Disguise in Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” Connie, a 15 year old in Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” is a prideful and churlish girl who has a habit of belittling others and boasting about her good looks. At first, the story seems to be about a self-absorbed and sexually active smug girl who gets herself noticed by a sexual predator. However, a closer inspection of the story, and a decryption of Arnold Friend’s name and the numbers 33, 19, and 17 reveal deeper theological and moral themes. By laying out the evidence that Oates presents in her story, it becomes clear that Connie was not kidnapped by a sexual predator, but lulled away by the devil for overly committing the same sin that got him tossed out of heaven.

According to Bibleinfo.com, pride is one of the seven deadly sins, and Connie’s vanity and pride are made apparent in the very first paragraph of the story. Connie had a habit of “Craning her neck to glance into mirrors, or checking other people’s faces to make sure her own was all right” (Oates 664). Connie’s mom would constantly reprimand Connie for starring at herself, and would urge her to be like her sister June who was constantly praised by...

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