In Joyce Carol Oates' "Where are you going, Where have you been?" what is the tone of the story?

Expert Answers
gbeatty eNotes educator| Certified Educator

content of the work, but with emotional shadings given it through word choices.
That said, I'd say it is distant, sometimes bleak, and sometimes ironic. Take this line from early in the story: "Connie would raise her eyebrows at these familiar old complaints and look right through her mother, into a shadowy vision of herself as she was right at that moment: she knew she was pretty and that was everything."
It is ironic to say that being pretty is everything. It isn't, and it very much isn't. Arnold Friend (another irony—he's no friend) threatens the destruction of everything Connie cares about. Friend destroys her life, and changes her world. That's pretty bleak, and Oates delivers his insanity in a distant, almost objective tone.

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question