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Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

by Joyce Carol Oates

Visions of America Quotes Page 2

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

Connie couldn't help but look back at the darkened shopping plaza with its big empty parking lot and its signs that were faded and ghostly now, and over at the drive-in restaurant where cars were circling tirelessly. She couldn't hear the music at this distance. (10)

We get a landscape of Connie's town, which looks like any suburban town with its shopping plazas, parking lots, and restaurants.

Quote #5

The asbestos "ranch house" that was now three years old startled her – it looked small. (12)

The relatively new "ranch house," a fixture in suburban tract housing, situates the story in contemporary American society. (Not that we use asbestos in buildings anymore!)

Quote #6

[Connie] listened for an hour and a half to a program called XYZ Sunday Jamboree, record after record of hard, fast, shrieking songs she sang along with, interspersed by exclamations from "Bobby King": "An' look here, you girls at Napoleon's – Son and Charley want you to play real close attention to this song coming up!" (13)

We get a taste of Connie's musical taste here, but there are also some echoes of Arnold's talk here. Like the DJ, Arnold wants Connie to "play real close attention" to his words, and Arnold's voice is often compared to music (see the last quote below). These parallels suggest that Arnold borrows from pop culture for his own ends: what compels people to buy can also compel them in other ways.

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