What was Connie meant to represent in the story?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that Connie can be seen as representing much in the story.  On one hand, Connie can come to represent the modern adolescent.  She is concerned with things that occupy the mindset of most adolescents.  She is concerned with her looks, boys, how she appears to others, and seeking to establish her own identity away from her homelife.  Like many adolescents, she has to come to terms with reality and mature past these desires into issues that are more substantive.  Indeed, in this she is different in the great extent by which she experiences this.  I think that Connie can be seen as a representation of the modern woman.  Oates might be constructing Connie in being a modern woman, one who possesses freedom and choice.  Yet, in this self- assured vision, threats that were not previously seen have to be accounted for, something that was not an issue before.  The presence of the Arnold Friends, the type of people who seek to control and manipulate others into dangerous or even deadly situations is something that feminism never quite accounted for.  In Oates' work, Connie might be that individual for whom liberation takes place on different levels such as personal, social, and psychological.

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