illustration of a young girl, Connie, reflected in the sunglasses of a man, Arnold Friend

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

by Joyce Carol Oates

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What is your critique of the style used in "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been" by Joyce Carol Oates?

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I think that you can find different examples out there about the style used in the Oates short story.  One such analysis focuses on the idea of psychological realism as the mode through which the story is told.  Connie's consciousness is how we, as the reader, understand the events that unfold.  From the opening where there is security and confidence to its slow and steady erosion into the unknown, the style of psychological realism ends up unsettling both Connie and the reader.  Through this style, the thematic applications can reveal itself.  The idea of the novel being an loss of innocence archetype or a feminist text can be divulged through the style that Oates employs, one that maintains the third person narrative, but skilfully does so through the consciousness of one of the characters.  It is through this prism that the reader fully grasps what is happening to Connie and how she has freedom, but, very much like a Rousseauian character, "lives in chains."

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