Patriarchal Domination in “Where Are You Going Where Have You Been”

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With good looks and sweet charm, men are able to win women over in a heartbeat. Why are men able to do this? Because women believe that they need basic human needs such as love and companionship to live. As you read through the short story, Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates, you notice Connie has issues of building a stable relationship with her family, which is shown through her personality.

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She seeks out male attention to fill the relationship she believes is missing in her life. This is why she finds herself having an interest in a much older and strange man, Arnold Friend. Connie gets into the car because she wants to get away from her unstable family, likes the attention she is receiving from Arnold and is persuaded by his actions because he is not who he says he is. Reading the short story, you notice that the young girl, Connie, does not get along with her family and she believes they do not like her. She often puts herself out there in some ways because she knows she is pretty. When she runs into Arnold Friend, she never knew her life would change forever. She doesn’t even know this man, but he notices her at the drive-in restaurant and makes catcalls to her.

Connie does not think anything of it and liked the attention she was receiving. Connie didn’t get any attention at home, so she was intrigued by the little attention she got from Arnold’s cat call. It wasn’t until Arnold showed up at her house later that day, that she began to question him more. He tries to smooth talk her into going for a ride with him. Connie is still into the attention, so she tries to play hard to get until she notices strange things about Arnold. The first red flag she notices is he is a lot older than she initially thought at the drive-in. Another concern Connie had was he already knew everything about Connie, which brought her fear. He tries to persuade her to come with him but eventually turns to threaten her and tells her that if she doesn’t get into the car there will consequences. She is frightened but also seems to find interest in him and the idea of going with him still. Connie gets into the car with Arnold, potentially thinking this could be an opportunity of freedom for her but little does she know Arnold is not who he says he is. She is intrigued and excited by even the slightest attention, because of the lack of attention she receives at home. Connie does not have a very stable relationship with her family. She does not get along with them and believes they are all against her.

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