Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?: Selected Early Stories


Joyce Carol Oates's selected early stories. Oates has chosen twenty-seven of her early stories, many of them O. Henry Award and/or Best American Short Story selections, for this volume, the only collection of her early stories available.

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Joyce Carol Oates's selected early stories. Oates has chosen twenty-seven of her early stories, many of them O. Henry Award and/or Best American Short Story selections, for this volume, the only collection of her early stories available.

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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: 9780865380783
  • Publisher: Ontario Review Books
  • Publication date: 6/9/2009
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 522
  • Product dimensions: 5.52 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.26 (d)

Meet the Author

Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates is one of our most important and well known writers—and one of America’s foremost writers of the short story form. She is also a regular contributor of reviews and criticism for the New York Times Book Review, The New York Review of Books, and elsewhere. She also reads and lectures widely throughout the US, at universities and bookstores.


Joyce Carol Oates is one of the most influential and important storytellers in the literary world. She has often used her supreme narrative skills to examine the dark side of middle-class Americana, and her oeuvre includes some of the finest examples of modern essays, plays, criticism, and fiction from a vast array of genres. She is still publishing with a speed and consistency of quality nearly unheard of in contemporary literature.

A born storyteller, Oates has been spinning yarns since she was a little girl too young to even write. Instead, she would communicate her stories through drawings and paintings. When she received her very first typewriter at the age of 14, her creative floodgates opened with a torrent. She says she wrote "novel after novel" throughout high school and college -- a prolificacy that has continued unabated throughout a professional career that began in 1963 with her first short story collection, By the North Gate.

Oates's breakthrough occurred in 1969 with the publication of them, a National Book Award winner that established her as a force to be reckoned with. Since that auspicious beginning, she has been nominated for nearly every major literary honor -- from the PEN/Faulkner Award to the Pulitzer Prize -- and her fiction turns up with regularity on The New York Times annual list of Notable Books.

On average Oates publishes at least one novel, essay anthology, or story collection a year (during the 1970s, she produced at the astonishing rate of two or three books a year!). And although her fiction often exposes the darker side of America's brightest facades – familial unrest, sexual violence, the death of innocence – she has also made successful forays into Gothic novels, suspense, fantasy, and children's literature. As novelist John Barth once remarked, "Joyce Carol Oates writes all over the aesthetical map."

Where she finds the time for it no one knows, but Oates manages to combine her ambitious, prolific writing career with teaching: first at the University of Windsor in Canada, then (from 1978 on), at Princeton University in New Jersey. For all her success and fame, her daily routine of teaching and writing has changed very little, and her commitment to literature as a transcendent human activity remains steadfast.

Good To Know

When not writing, Oates likes to take in a fight. "Boxing is a celebration of the lost religion of masculinity all the more trenchant for its being lost," she says in highbrow fashion of the lowbrow sport.

Oates's Black Water, which is a thinly veiled account of Ted Kennedy's car crash in Chappaquiddick, was produced as an opera in the 1990s.

In 2001, Oprah Winfrey selected Oates's novel We Were the Mulvaneys for her Book Club.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Rosamond Smith
    2. Hometown:
      Princeton, New Jersey
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 16, 1938
    2. Place of Birth:
      Lockport, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Syracuse University, 1960; M.A., University of Wisconsin, 1961

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 10, 2002


    I just recently read this story. I enjoyed it because in my opinion, you make up your own ending and you catogorize each character by what you think. I felt that the character Arnold Friend represented Satan. However, there are people who feel as though he may have been a saviour. I said Satan because of the emphasis that he could not fit his shoes properly(Satan was said to have cloven hoofs), and also how he knew everything about her from friends to family (also something a saviour might know). Where Mrs.Oates threw me off was with the numbers on the car. What did that mean? If in fact Arnold Friend was a messenger from God, could the number 33 stand for the age that Jesus died? If so, what do the numbers 17 and 19 stand for? Overall, I really enjoyed this story. The story has a close resemblence to song 'It's all over now baby blue,' by Bob Dylan.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2001

    Joyce Carol Oates- 'Where are you going, where have you been?'

    'Where are you going, where have you been?' is an amazing short story. It has so many hidden aspects, such as the secret code. It portrays the day and life of a teenage girl. It displays not only the surface problems of the teenage girl, but the sexuality and disobedience.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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