What happens after the resolution has been made evident in "Where are You Going, Where Have You Been?"

Expert Answers
Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Arnold alludes to several possible outcomes if Connie were to leave the house and come with him, which of course, she does by the resolution of "Where are You Going, Where Have You Been?".  Oates leaves the resolution of the story purposely vague, allowing the reader's imagination to draw conclusions about Connie's fate at the hands of Arnold and Ellie.  In many ways, not knowing the ultimate outcome heightens the suspense and resonance of the story.  Arnold Friend does  make at least part of his intentions fairly clear to Connie:

1.  Arnold plans to take Connie for a drive.

"This is how it is, honey: you come out and we'll drive away, have a nice ride."

This suggestion by itself is the least threatening of Arnold's promises; only when added to his other suggestions does the promise of a leisurely drive become disturbing.

2.  Arnold plans to rape Connie.

"I'll tell you how it is, I'm always nice at first, the first time. I'll hold you so tight you won't think you have to try to get away or pretend anything because you'll know you can't. And I'll come inside you where it's all secret and you'll give in to me and you'll love me."

Arnold makes his intentions blazingly clear to Connie in this quote, which naturally scares Connie into a true panic.  He threatens her entire family if she does not open the screen door and come outside.  Even Connie recognizes that she will never return to the ranch house again or sleep in her own bed again.  Oates does not have to spell out the true resolution of Connie's dire fate at the hands of Arnold Friend, because she has already established what will become of the girl through Friend's ominous declarations. 

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question