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Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

by Joyce Carol Oates

Violence Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #7

"My sign." And he drew an X in the air, leaning out toward her [...] After his hand fell back to his side the X was still in the air, almost visible. (77)

Arnold seems almost supernatural here, with the magical ability to make gestures hover in the air. What do you think the X represents?

Quote #8

Connie saw with a shock that he wasn't a kid either. [...] Connie felt a wave of dizziness rise in her at this sight and she stared at him as if waiting for something to change the shock of the moment, make it all right again [...] Connie stared at him, another wave of dizziness and fear rising in her so that for a moment he wasn't even in focus but just a blur standing there against his gold car. (86, 94)

Connie's acute terror renders her helpless and hopeless. The fact that Arnold becomes "just a blur" once again gives him the air of a supernatural or non-human being.

Quote #9

I'm the boy for you and like I said, you come out here nice like a lady and give me your hand, and nobody else gets hurt, I mean, your nice old bald-headed daddy and your mummy and your sister in her high heels. (133)

Arnold's threat takes Connie's dilemma to a whole new level. At the same time that it amplifies the threat of violence – not just to Connie but to her whole family – it opens up an opportunity for her to perform a noble act of self-sacrifice.

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