“Our society is used to judging content by its package and label (Krupa). Joyce Oates incorporates imagery and figurative language to illustrate the characteristics of opinions and human nature in “Where are you going, where have you been?” In the short story Connie is similar to any teenage girl sneaking around and telling her parents where she is going, but instead being at a different location. This story is focused on Connie’s appearance and how her mother compares her to her older sister. People always compare myself to others it is just a way of making someone feel less then the other person. In most families, they compare oneself to others consistently.
Wherever you go, there’s always going to be someone to judge.Joyce Oates frequently expresses the element of imagery throughout the text. One of the first examples is evident that imagery is being used, “She was fifteen and she had a quick, nervous giggling habit of craning her neck to glance into mirrors or checking other people’s faces to make sure her own was all right” (Oates 1), the author makes a picture in your mind of how she does not feel confident in her own body. Not only does she glance at herself, but their mother does it to make her feel bad about herself. Connie’s mother regularly found a way to make Connie feel less than her older sister June. Throughout the story, there are many different examples in the text where Connie’s mom compares her to June, for example, her mother always said, “June did this, June did that” (Oates 1).
Joyce Oates explores the universal element of imagery through the development of the character Connie in her short story, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” Connie says, “She thought for the first time in her life that it was nothing that was hers, that belonged to her, but just a pounding, living thing inside this body that was not really hers either” (Oates 8). Connie feels that her heart is something inside her, but she doesn’t feel like it is a specific part of her. This draws attention to Connie taking action, failing, and when she is trying to make her own decisions.
She knows that her heart is a part of her but she doesn’t feel like that since sometimes she can’t make her own decisions.The element of “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” is further established through Joyce Oates use of figurative language as evident in this short story Oates uses a simile in the following sentence, “her laugh, which was cynical and drawling at home- “Ha, Ha very funny.”- but high pitched and everywhere else, like the jingling of the charms on her bracelet” (Oates 2). The image of the jingling charm bracelet gives the reader to imagine Connie’s laugh as young and cheerful like any other teenager. Her laugh is used to compare how in public she is a different person than in private.
It makes the reader think that Connie has two types of different personalities.Additionally, Joyce Oates uses descriptive details to convey the element of figurative language. A strong example is the description of a metaphor when Arnold’s friend says, “This place you are now- inside your daddy’s house- is nothing but a cardboard box I can knock down anytime” (Oates 8). Arnold threatens Connie by telling her that her house nor her dad can protect her from him. Connie’s house represents traditions and even represents family.
Arnold compares Connie’s life to a cardboard box as it gives the reader an idea of how unstable her life is. Connies life is getting out of hand at times but she tries hard to not let things get to her. In conclusion, Joyce uses figurative language and imagery to get her points across to the reader. Oates points out specific points throughout the short story so we have a clear picture in our heads. In the short story “Where are you going, where have you been?” she tries to tell the readers that no matter the situation someone is always going to have something to say whether it is something good or it is something bad.
One of the main points is to pay attention to what they do only they know what they are doing nobody else’s opinion matters they’re just gonna talk.