The Short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?’ takes place in the mid 1960s in a typical suburban town. The town consists of a diner and a shopping mall a theater and fairly new asbestos ranch houses such as the one Connie lives in. The town is not too detailed much like Connie herself it has no real identity. The fact that this story takes place in a nice suburban town adds to the terror of the story by the fact that most don’t associate this kind of evil with a setting like this.
Judging by even the first line if this story “her name was Connie” one can gather that the story is being told from a third person narrator, yet the narrator focuses only on Connie’s feelings and thoughts. This allows the reader to identify with Connie and the emotions in which she is feeling even up though all her terror and fear when Arnold Friend arrives. By telling the story in third person the narrator can use descriptive language while the climax of the story is taking place(which If Connie would have been telling it in her own words would not have been possible). It is this language that sets up the mood imagery and symbolism throughout the story.
The genre of this particular piece can be classified as a psychological thriller, due to the fact that Arnold Friend has control over Connie by taking away who she is and controlling her mind. Many of Oates pieces are socially and psychologically terrifying as well as dark. Symbolism and imagery are undoubtedly important in this piece. Some think that Arnold friend represents death or the devil, and Connie troubled youth, or Eve. These theories of this story being an allegory can be represented by the original name for this piece which was entitled “Death and the Maiden” however Oates changed the title to make the piece more modern and posses more realistic characters rather than allegorical.
There are several themes expressed in Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? ranging from appearance and reality, identity and search for self and victim and victimization.