'Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?': Joyce Carol Oates

Overview

Joyce Carol Oates's prize-winning story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" takes up troubling subjects that continue to occupy her in her fiction: the romantic longings and limited options of adolescent women; the tensions between mothers and daughters; the sexual victimization of women; and the American obsession with violence. Inspired by a magazine story about a serial killer, its remarkable portrait of the dreamy teenager Connie has made it a feminist classic. Connie's life anticipates the emergence ...
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Overview

Joyce Carol Oates's prize-winning story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" takes up troubling subjects that continue to occupy her in her fiction: the romantic longings and limited options of adolescent women; the tensions between mothers and daughters; the sexual victimization of women; and the American obsession with violence. Inspired by a magazine story about a serial killer, its remarkable portrait of the dreamy teenager Connie has made it a feminist classic. Connie's life anticipates the emergence of American society from the social innocence of the fifties into the harsher contemporary realities of war, random violence, and crime. The story was the basis for the movie Smooth Talk, which became the subject of much feminist debate.

This casebook includes an introduction by the editor, a chronology of Oates's life, and authoritative text of "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" an essay by Oates on Smooth Talk, the original Life article about the serial killer, ten critical essays (including two about the film), and a bibliography.

The contributors are Brenda O. Daly, Christina Marsden Gillis, Don Moser, Tom Quirk, B. Ruby Rich, R.J.R. Rockwood, Larry Rubin, Gretchen Schultz, Marie Mitchell Oleson Urbanski, Joyce M. Wegs, and Joan D. Winslow.

Elaine Showalter is Avalon Foundation Professor of Humanities at Princeton University. She is the author and editor of many books on women's writing, including Sister's Choice: Tradition and Change in American Women's Writing.

A volume in the Women Writers: Texts and Contexts Series.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In her 17th collection of short fiction, Oates ( With Shuddering Fall ) retrieves stories from her first six, as well as two stories not previously published in book form. And while the volume includes some of her best-known work (``Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?''), the chance to savor ``The Molesters,'' never reprinted before though eventually included in her novel, Expensive People , and ``How I Contemplated the World from the Detroit House of Correction and Began My Life Over Again'' is momentous. For in stories such as these, the writer shows early signs of the sinister ingenuity and command of psychological nuance later fulfilled in other ways in other books. The new collection of work, dating from the 1960s and 1970s, reveals a consistency of theme. Oates demonstrates, for instance, that she was, as she is, cool-tempered yet seductive in her canny portrayals of innocence on the verge of defilement--and afterwards. The collection also displays the author's imaginative restlessness, and an apparent search for an anti-self in fiction concerned with molested children and suburban victims of sleaze and angst. Longtime fans will be pleased to be reminded of how Oates began, and first-time readers will find a good place to start. (Apr.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813521350
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 11/4/1994
  • Series: Women Writers: Texts and Contexts Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 178
  • Sales rank: 158,720
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 3
Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? 23
Background to the Story
The Pied Piper of Tucson: He Cruised in a Golden Car, Looking for the Action 51
"Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" and Smooth Talk: Short Story into Film 67
Critical Essays
Existential Allegory: Joyce Carol Oates's "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" 75
A Source for "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" 81
The Stranger Within: Two Stories by Oates and Hawthorne 91
"Don't You Know Who I Am?": The Grotesque in Oates's "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" 99
Oates's "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" 109
In Fairyland, without a Map: Connie's Exploration Inward in Joyce Carol Oates's "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" 113
"Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?": Seduction, Space, and a Fictional Mode 133
Good Girls, Bad Girls 141
An Unfilmable Conclusion: Joyce Carol Oates at the Movies 145
Selected Bibliography 163
Permissions 165
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2008

    Amazing

    This story is AMAZING!! The symbolism, theme, allegory, etc. are all incredible. It's masterfully crafted and intensely powerful! It is full of suspense and leaves one in deep contemplation. After reading this story, I kept shivering for about 15 minutes, and I don't think I'll ever rebound mentally. One must read this! *Actually, the numbers 33,19,17 are a biblical reference. If one counts, starting in the New Testament into the old, and excluding revelations, Judges is the 33 book. In Judges 19:17, it states, 'When he looked and saw the traveler in the city square, the old man asked, 'Where are you going? Where did you come from?' ' As Judges 19 continues, one finds more references to the story itself. It could also be seen as relevant that 33+19+17=69, the story was published in '68, and that 6+9=15, and Connie is 15.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2005

    An excellently written story!!!

    Joyce Carol Oates seems to have out done herself in writing 'Where are you going, Where have you been?' This story is filled with symbolism, archetypes, and so much more. There are so many different readings of this story. The story is made scarier in that we all know someone like Connie, the protagonist. This is also a great story to use if anyone needs to write a paper analyzing a story. Awesome story! I would definitely recommend it! (To anyone not knowing what the numbers in the story mean, just add them up. That should give you a hint!)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2003

    Waste of time

    Arnold was just another sicko that Joyce writes about. the number on the car, think about connie's age. It would most likely be the age of girls he has molested.

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