Make a case for interpreting "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been" as “Nothing in the story is as it seems".Describe specific actions, people, and places which are not as they...

Make a case for interpreting "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been" as “Nothing in the story is as it seems".

Describe specific actions, people, and places which are not as they seem.

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The central theme of the story is the difference between appearances and reality. Connie thinks of herself as an accomplished flirt who is worldly and can handle any situation, yet she is quickly and completely overwhelmed by Arnold's relentlessly evil manipulations. Arnold himself at first appears to be just another teenager who frequents popular teen hangouts, when in reality he is much older, with intentions and experiences which are anything but youthful and innocent. These discrepancies between perception and reality lead to disaster.

Details in the story also reflect the opposition of appearance and reality. Connie wears "a pullover jersey blouse that look(s) one way when she (is) at home and another way when she (is) away from home...everything about her (has) two sides to it, one for home and one for anywhere that (is) not home". The place Connie and her friends see as a "haven and what blessing they (yearn) for" is nothing more than a "bright-lit, fly-infested restaurant", and Connie and her mother "(keep) up a pretense of exasperation" with each other, even though they don't really have serious differences between them. Finally, in the most sinister discrepancy between perception and reality, Arnold appears to be a teenage boy, but his hair is a wig and he wears sunglasses to cover his features and stuffs his boots to make him look taller.

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