Fantasy Versus Reality
Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?: Truth Blinded by Fantasy
It's not uncommon to catch ourselves snapping out of a daydream only to realize how extent our Imagination was. Not only do we fantasize what isn't possible, but also what we want to believe disregarding how close it is to reality. Joyce Carol Oates, the author of a short story, "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" uses Connie's character to successfully portray the conflict between fantasy versus reality. Connie, who views the idea of maturity as being experienced with men and exceedingly independent, tries bit too hard to follow those ...view middle of the document...
"June did this, June did that... and Connie couldn't do a thing" (324). Oates also says that Connie "knew she was pretty and that was everything" (323) to her. It's almost as if perfecting her appearance is the only way for Connie to win over her sister. Connie is tired of hearing her mother nag to the point where Connie even "wished her mother was dead... and it was all over" (323). It's present in this line that Connie has been raised in an oppressive environment where home is not a place for comfort but a place to escape from. Connie perhaps craves for attention outside of her family to fulfill the lost affection at home. The constant scolding of her mother doesn't make Connie to snap out of her 'trashy daydreams' but instead to rebel against her.
Connie's rebellious attitude is evident when her friend's dad drops them off at a shopping plaza. Since the dad never asks what they had done, the girls easily go off "to a drive-in restaurant where older kids hung out" (324) and secretly goes on dates with 'older kids.' Rebelling against her parents was Connie's best try at distancing herself from her family and growing more independent. This idea of obtaining freedom gave Connie a sense of maturity which made herself fit more with her fantasy of a woman. However, when Arnold was threatening Connie to follow him outside the house, "she cried out, cried for her mother"(335). Yet again, the reality of Connie's inability to act under such pressure and her subconscious need for mother's love and protection during extreme fear is shown.
Connie exactly knows the appropriate behavior for her young age that's acceptable at home. Oates says that "Everything about [Connie] had two sides to it, one for home and one for anywhere that was not home" (324). Because Connie is aware of her lack of adult persona, she acts past her years to portray herself as her interpretation of a grown woman. Again, fantasy versus reality is apparent through Connie's perception of how women should dress or have their hair and makeup done and those affect the way she carries herself in public. "Her mouth which was pale... but bright and pink on these evenings out, her laugh which was cynical at home... but high-pitched and nervous anywhere else" (324). Connie makes these physical changes thinking that she would grow more mature, like her ideal woman. In reality, maturity isn't gained from physical growth, but from years of experience and obtained wisdom of life. Connie is clearly far from the definition of maturity but her fantasy blinds her from this cold truth.
Misguided ideas of maturity place Connie in a risky situation because in order to be treated womanly, she thinks she needs to socialize with older men. She feels more accomplished to be asked out by an older guy such as Eddie who Connie met at the drive-in restaurant than by just a boy from high school. When Connie notices a man staring at her, she looks away "but couldn't help glancing back"...