What does the title "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" signify?  

Asked on by ivyteach68

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Joyce Carol Oates' title "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" supports the larger themes of journey and discovery within her short story.  The protagonist Connie dreams of growing up and going places.  The lyric quality of the title also flows with Connie's love for music and the dreamy quality of the scene in which she lays out in the sun, her mind wandering as the radio plays in the background. 

Later in the story's climax, the title gains additional significance as Arnold warns Connie:

"The place where you came from ain't there anymore [...] and where you had in mind to go is cancelled out."

In the end, Connie leaves with Friend, her destination and fate as unknown as the uncertain road before her.


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