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 adjectives describe Connie's personality in "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"

Quick answer:

The adjective that describes Connie accurately is "vain" and the quote that supports this adjective choice is: "Connie had a pretty face, with delicate features and blue eyes." The adjective that describes Connie accurately is "naive" and the quotes that support this adjective choice are: The cars were lined up. The radios were playing. But all these things did not come together like they should have done; they did not mix up right. To see an example of a story map for Lord of the Flies , click on the following link to see my post entitled A Story Map For Lord Of The Flies .

Expert Answers

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The first adjective that comes to mind to describe Connie is "vain."  She is aware that she is pretty, and, despite her mother's admonition to "stop gawking at yourself,"  Connie has a habit of looking into mirrors to check her appearance. She knows she is pretty, "and that was everything" in her mind. When Arnold Friend turns up at her house and her family is away, Connie's first thought is about "how bad she looks" because she has just washed her hair. 

Another adjective that describes Connie accurately is "naive." She is so engrossed in her vanity, sneaking around with boys when she is supposed to be with her friends, and listening to rock and roll music that she seriously underestimates the threat that Arnold Friend represents until it is too late.  As Connie studies Arnold Friend from the other side of the screen door, she notices his tight jeans and shirt, greasy leather jacket, muscled body, and the fact that he is listening to the same radio station as she is. She remembers flirting with him at the drive-in restaurant. Connie's naïveté about the danger of Arnold Friend is expressed in the line: "but all these things did not come together."  Her inexperience and self-absorption do not allow her to recognize Arnold Friend as a predator until it is too late. 

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