Study Guide

Connie's Mother in Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

By Joyce Carol Oates

Connie's Mother

A familiar teenage story: Connie and her mother don't get along. Connie's mother never seems to speak kindly to or of Connie, and Connie doesn't think too highly of her mother either:

Connie's mother kept picking at her until Connie wished her mother was dead and she herself was dead and it was all over. (3)

Her looks faded, Connie's mother now "scuffl[es] around the house in bedroom slippers," an image of married life that Connie doesn't want in her own future. There's still affection there, and in a loaded phrase, the story tells us they were "almost friends" (11).

Despite their squabbling, Connie poignantly still calls out for her mother in her attempt to escape Arnold Friend, when she tries to call the police (144). Is the story suggesting that somehow the lack of her mother's friendship sends her into a really bad (F)riend's arms?