Connie, the protagonist at 15 years old in Joyce Carol Oates’ story “Where are your going, what have you done?” Connie has an emotional conflict. She realizes that Arnold is not the right choice for her, but she also understands that Arnold Friend threatens her families and leaves her with very few options. Arnold and Connie’s conflict is not about good or evil, but rather a complicated and aggressive build. Arnold’s advances begin sweetly with his attempts to lure Connie into the car with the musicbox, but soon he becomes aggressive when she questions him about her age and refuses to go with him.
When Connie meets her first Arnold friend, he tells her “Gonna get you,” and the suspense begins. The title is itself a mystery. This makes it difficult to comprehend the meaning of “where are your going, what have you done?” Connie is almost broke when she follows Arnold’s instructions and walks out of the door. The story follows a consistent third-person point of view throughout.
Arnold, who systematically targets and manipulates Connie because of her beauty and youth, is the central theme of this story. The central idea of sexual violence is especially prevalent among teens. The central theme of sexual assault reinforces traditional notions about life like morality. The story takes places in suburbs of an unknown US state. This setting is crucial and gives Connie a glimpse into her teenage years, especially in the town’s social scene.
Imagistic writing is very well suited for the story’s theme. The author creates a picture of Connie by describing her as having long, dark hair. The story revolves about her from the beginning to end.