Amour propre can be exposed as one’s greatest failing. “Where Are You Traveling. Where have You Been” . a short narrative written by Joyce Carol Oates. depict Connie’s misconception of beauty as her lone value. and besides the ways in which Arnold Friend. a possible raper and liquidator. manipulates and takes advantage of Connie’s amour propre. Connie is a 15 twelvemonth old miss who knows the extent to which her beauty can be used to her advantage. Connie “knew she was reasonably and that was everything. ” However. beauty causes Connie to go vain. and therefore gives Connie the misconception that she is more powerful than the male childs that are attracted to her. This proves that Connie believes her beauty allows her to exceed above other people. particularly boys. As a consequence. although her beauteous build can be seen as a benefit to Connie. her amour propre proves to go her ultimate failing and it leads to her death as seen when Arnold Friend states “I took a particular involvement in you. such a pretty girl” . Connie becomes powerless in Arnold Friend’s presence because he manipulates and takes advantage of her amour propre and desire for attending.

Connie’s freshly found gender as a adolescent gives her control over the male childs she encounters at topographic points such as the “fly-infested” thrust in. which she describes as a “haven and blessing they yearned for. ” The drive- in. which is “fly-infested” in world. is the “sacred building” where Connie believes that her beauty can be genuinely apprehended. whereas at her place. beauty is non acknowledged at all. As a consequence. Connie farther embraces her beauty in order to sate her demand for attending. In her “trashy reverie. ” Connie describes male childs as “dissolved into a individual face that was non even a face but an thought. ”

Connie is more enticed by the thought of holding a fellow. which shows that she does non care much for the existent male child. This allows Connie to be more easy overpowered by Arnold Friend’s camouflage when he foremost comes over to her house to take her off. This is apparent when Connie states that “for a minute [ Arnold ] wasn’t even in focal point but was merely a fuzz standing at that place against his gold car” This shows that Arnold becomes the construct of a fellow to Connie. which is “not even a “face but an thought. ” Arnold finally uses his chance as a possible fellow to blandish and finally overpower Connie in the terminal.

A desire can sabotage one’s ability to guard one’s self from alluring factors. Connie’s deficiency of attending from her household. particularly her male parent. engenders her desire to be wanted by a adult male. Her desire for attending is noticed by Arnold Friend. and therefore he uses that desire to his advantage. By turning Connie’s desire into her failing. he uses manipulative tactics to overmaster her vain personality. As a adolescent. Connie is non able to truly place herself. Connie is both a girl and a sister to her household. However. her amour propre and shallowness causes her to go a sexual object to boys every bit good. and therefore she is flustered as to which function she can genuinely place herself with.

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As a consequence of Connie’s individuality crisis. Arnold Friend uses this to his advantage and overpowers Connie by farther disorienting her with assorted feelings of both force and passion. This is apparent when Arnold threatens to ache Connie’s household while trying to score her with flattery. such as “I like them the manner you are. honey. ” every bit good. Arnold Friend psychologically manipulates Connie by moving both loving and violent. and this causes Connie to go powerless in Arnold’s presence because she is non accustomed to a males who are so bipolar in emotions towards her. However. there is no haste or urgency as Arnold Friend casually speaks with Connie. This builds up to the suspense up until Connie eventually realizes the danger she is in and all she could make is “scream into the phone. ”

Although Connie is caught up between the individualities of being a girl. sister. and an object of gender. Connie’s footing for these different functions is fixed upon physical visual aspect. Connie compares her beauty to her female parent and sister. and she is ever “checking other people’s faces to do certain her ain was all right. ” This shows that Connie basically values physical beauty over all other factors. Although a monstrous brush is foreshadowed when Arnold warns Connie “ gon na acquire you. babe” . Connie allows Arnold to discourse with her because she “liked the manner he was dressed. ” This farther proves that Connie is immersed with merely the superficial. and this gives Arnold the opportunity to overmaster Connie by going what she desires.

Arnold is cognizant that Connie is chiefly concerned with outer visual aspects. and this allows him to show himself in a desirable mode towards Connie. Connie’s inability to ignore the superficial in clip resulted in her failure to acknowledge Arnold’s camouflage. and therefore he was able to overmaster her. Although Connie thinks of herself as a skilled coquette. she is shortly stereotyped as nil more than the pretty miss. Arnold Friend says. “What else is at that place for a miss like you but to be sweet and pretty and give in? ” This proves that Connie. a miss who values beauty as the greatest worth. will be necessarily overpowered by a adult male who values and desires beauty every bit good.

Music is both a shelter and exposure to Connie. Whenever Connie hears music. she feels a “glow of slow pulsed joy that seemed to lift cryptically out of the music itself. ” Connie was all about the “the music that made everything so good. ” Music is made into such an of import entity that it is about given its ain character. Music symbolizes security and safety. and she even describes the music at the drive- in as “music at a church service ; it was something to depend upon. ” By comparing it to church. she indicates that music is a signifier of faith to her. However. music as a faith does non convey Connie redemption. Although music is seen as Connie’s safety. it leads to her impotence in forepart of Arnold Friend. One manner in which Arnold is able to derive Connie’s trust is through his camouflage and hapless effort to go like the adult male in the popular teenage vocals.

However. music is besides a factor manipulated by Arnold and he uses it against her. Music is a safety for Connie and Arnold is cognizant of that. The same vocal that was playing both Connie’s place and Ellie’s auto seemed to “blend together. ” The music. auto. and outfit is all used by Arnold Friend as a manner to go the type of lover described in the adolescent vocals. and Connie falls for this pretense and accepts his frontage. Arnold’s address was “spoken with a little rhythmic swing and Connie someway recognized them” Connie believes that she recognizes Arnold merely because he seems to hold come out from the adolescent vocals she ever listens to.

As Connie realizes Arnold is non the idealised adult male in the vocals. she loses acknowledgment of everything that she is familiar with. She says that the “kitchen looked like a topographic point she had ne’er seen earlier. ” This shows that Arnold takes off more than Connie’s music ; he takes off Connie’s life and everything else she is familiar with. Connie misinterprets that everything is “the manner it was in films and promised in vocals. ” She believes that her life will retroflex the exact lover and life that is “promised” in the vocals. which is merely a mere phantasy and psychotic belief in Connie’s instance. As a consequence. Arnold seduces Connie by looking to be what was promised in the vocals. and overpowers Connie by utilizing music as a tool.

Arnold Friend is further able to overmaster Connie because she is diffident of her individuality that she has at place and “everywhere else that is non place. ” Adolescents frequently are troubled by the fact that they are no longer kids. but they are still non yet grownups. As a consequence. Connie embraces the lone thing she is certain of ; her beauty. By overemphasising the value of beauty. she becomes vain and ego centered. Although she is troubled by her teenage convulsion. her household does non supply her with any moral support or counsel. Like Arnold Friend. her household is non what they seem. Arnold puts on a pretense in order to go the idealised adult male in popular adolescent vocals. In similarity. her parents appear to be typical parents. but they prove to be partially detached from Connie’s demand. Connie’s male parent “was off at work most of the clip. ” and “didn’t bother speaking much to them. ”

As a consequence. Connie needed to seek for male attending elsewhere. such as from the male childs at the thrust in. Arnold Friend was cognizant of Connie’s desire for attending. particularly from males. and therefore used it to his advantage to overmaster her. Even her female parent seems to non be concerned about Connie’s desire for attending. Although at times Connie and her female parent are “almost friends” over java. an issue arises that causes the two to reason “over something of small value to either of them. ” Connie indicates that her female parent “had been reasonably one time too” and as a consequence. Connie believes that her female parent prefers her over June. who is “plain and chunky and steady. ” This encourages Connie to believe that existent value lies in beauty. and therefore she makes the error of encompassing amour propre. This leads to Arnold’s use of Connie’s beauty and desire. which leads to his authorization over Connie.

As a consequence of her parent’s deficiency of concern and counsel. Connie is powerless when confronted by Arnold Friend. She does non cognize how to support herself. and lone relies on her flirtation. her beauty. and the phantasy that music represents. Connie was non taught by her parents how to move towards aliens. This is apparent because Connie’s parents would non even inquire her obvious parental inquiries such as “Where are you traveling? ” or “Where have you been? ” Due to the parent’s deficiency of concern. Connie takes advantage of her parent’s apathetic trust and goes out to topographic points where parents would normally disapprove of. However. Connie feels guilty about lead oning her ma. who is “simple and sort enough” But the enticements of the drive- in and the male childs overpower that guilt. This foreshadows Connie’s inability to overmaster the enticements that Arnold Friend represents. Connie and her ma still manages to portion a bond. as seen when Connie thinks to herself “I’m non traveling to see my female parent once more. ” Connie’s impotence is inevitable because her household did non stress true moral values. and as a consequence Connie embraced her beauty as her lone value. which finally leads to her terminal by Arnold’s custodies.

It is apparent that Connie was overpowered by Arnold Friend because she embraced amour propre as her lone value. and besides that Arnold took advantage of Connie’s desire for attending from work forces. “Where are you Traveling. Where have you Been” describes the eventual ego consciousness of Connie. Throughout the narrative. Connie has disregarded everything but her beauty. As a consequence. she merely had her amour propre as protection from Arnold Friend. This was clearly uneffective because it was obvious that it was Connie’s beauty and amour propre that Arnold had desired since he foremost saw her. Arnold’s desire for Connie overpowered Connie’s desire for attending. and therefore Connie had no pick but to follow Arnold in the terminal. Although it music was something that “made everything good” and “was something to depend on. ” Arnold manipulated music every bit good. and as a consequence he took away everything that provided joy and a sense of certainty to Connie. Connie had neither moral support nor counsel from her parents. and hence she overemphasized beauty as a value to the point where it blinded her from sing Arnold Friend as ‘an old monster. ’

Arnold Friend was able to mask himself as ‘an old friend’ by trying to be the idealised adult male portrayed in the vocals. He succeeded as a consequence of Connie’s misconception that everything is “the manner it was in films and promised in vocals. ” When Connie foremost sees Arnold. she can non see anything but her contemplation in Arnold’s dark glassess. This indicates that Arnold gives Connie the chance to see what herself as the stereotyped ‘pretty girl’ . which Arnold replies “what else is at that place for a miss like you but to be sweet and pretty and give in” By pull stringsing her amour propre. her desires. and her music. Arnold is able to take away her individuality as a adolescent. and therefore Connie becomes powerless in the presence of Arnold. However. Connie matures when she casts aside her amour propre by giving herself for her family’s safety. She finally overcomes her ain amour propre in order to protect her household from Arnold. but merely after she was wholly overpowered by Arnold Friend. Although she was caught between the function of being a girl. sister. and an object of sexual desire. she takes on the function of a hero at the terminal by giving her life for her household.

Despite the fact that Connie became powerless in Arnold’s presence. she was still able to get the better of her amour propre and selfishness for her family’s interest. and this proves that Connie became powerful by the terminal of the narrative.

Plants Cited

Oates. Joyce Carol. “Where Are You Traveling. Where Have You Been? ” . Literature: Reading. Reacting. Writing. Compact. Ed. Laurie G. Kirszner. . and Stephen R. Mandell. . New York: Heinle. 2006. 579-591

Quirk. Tom. “A SOURCE FOR ‘WHERE ARE YOU GOING. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? ’ . ” Studies in Short Fiction 18. 4 ( Fall 1981 ) : 413. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Santa Monica College Library. Santa Monica. CA. 4 Apr. 2008 hypertext transfer protocol: //libdb. smc. edu/login? url=http: //search. ebscohost. com/login. aspx? direct=true & A ; db=aph & A ; AN=7133354 & A ; site=ehost-live

Hurley. C. Harold. “CRACKING THE SECRET CODE IN OATES’S ‘WHERE ARE YOU GOING. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? ’ . ” Studies in Short Fiction 24. 1 ( Winter 1987 ) : 62. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Santa Monica College Library. Santa Monica. CA. 4 Apr. 2008 hypertext transfer protocol: //libdb. smc. edu/login? url=http: //search. ebscohost. com/login. aspx? direct=true & A ; db=aph & A ; AN=7151290 & A ; site=ehost-live


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