Most of the action in "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" takes place in the main character's home – or rather, right on the threshold, in the doorway of the kitchen, to be exact. By confining the action this way, the story is able to stage a larger question about agency: How free are we? What determines our actions? What life can we choose? What determines the life we desire? For the protagonist, the home is on one hand the place where she loses herself in daydreams fueled by popular music and film. But it's also associated with parental restrictions and the dreary life of her suburban housewife mother, a life that might await in her own future. Yet the alternative, a life literally parked on the driveway in Arnold Friend's car, is filled with threat. The possibilities for free will in such an impossible situation is a central question of the story.
The home should be Connie's haven, yet its vulnerability suggests her own sexual vulnerability.
By crossing the threshold, Connie chooses to save her family. This act of freedom in a situation of coercion and violence suggests that there is always a possibility for freedom, even in the most desperate of situations.