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Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?


by Joyce Carol Oates

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. In the end, do you think Connie is a passive victim or a noble heroine? If neither option is satisfactory, come up with your own and explain.
  2. If you were Connie, how would you have reacted to Arnold Friend's advances?
  3. The setting of "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" is 1960s America. We've (hopefully) come a long way in terms of women's equality and our attitudes toward sexuality. Do you think the story still speaks to women today? Why or why not?
  4. Hannibal Lechter. Charles Manson. Ted Bundy. On the list of most awful criminals ever, real and fictional, where does Arnold Friend rank? Why is it that most of us only remember the names of serial killers and not their victims?
  5. Oates has specifically mentioned the "Death and the Maiden" folktales as one inspiration for this story (see "Death and the Maiden" under "Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory"). Some literary critics have found elements of common fairy tales such as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and The Three Little Pigs in "Where Are You Going?" Do you see any similarities with these or any other fairy tales or myths in Oates's story?

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