In Joyce Carol Oates this essay will show a character analysis of Connie. The focus will be on how her body image is linked to self-confidence, self-respect, distinctiveness, personality, conformity and to rites of passage. Furthermore, the analysis will focus on how the character changes as the story ends. Connie, the main character in Where are you going, where have you been? has excess self-confidence. The fifteen-year-old protagonist of the story. Connie is in the midst of an adolescent uprising. She argues with her mother and sister, June, and neglects family life in favor of scoping out boys at the local restaurant. The excess self-confidence is based on the principle that she has extraordinary looks.
The self-confidence makes her have a sense of false self-security. She makes her body image have unnecessary self -esteem, which makes her make bad choices. Connie is influenced that she is extra gorgeous and is capable of impressing any boy. She becomes overcame with the idea that she is beautiful. All she wants is for others to notice that she is attractive. Her personality does not matter to her and her confidence is solely based on her perceived looks. She does not care about how she describes herself since she believes that all that matters in life is good looks. This is depicted when the author posits, “She knew she was pretty and that was everything” (88). This is what leads her to the accident when she tries to impress a wrong boy.
Connie describes herself as a girl who would do anything to impress a man and she adopts a bad attitude. She spends plenty of time perfecting her beauty. She uses her looks to gauge others. As she grows, she deteriorates and fails to realize the character of personality in defining ones identity. Even when people around her try to instill some sense in her, she is selfish and ignores any criticism or takes it negatively. As she grows, her character express concern by the people who live around her. While they appreciate her sister’s good character, she despises it since she considers her sister plain and steady, which was not interesting. In Connie’s opinion, her mother’s looks had faded and that is why she was always after her.
Connie seems uninterested about her age and shows no signs of maturing. All through the story she takes criticism the same way. She always looks people reactions. She even thinks that her mother preferred her sister, June, because she was not pretty. “Why don’t you keep your room clean like your sister? How are you got your hair fixed -What the hell stinks? Hair spray? You don’t see your sister using that junk”(286). On the different, her mother was bothered by Connie’s arrogance. Connie’s selfishness is obvious when she refuses to go to the barbeque with the rest of her family. When she was asked to join them, she refused since “She wasn’t interested, rolling her eyes to let her mother know what she thought of it” (289). In her opinion, she was too pretty to go to a place she describes with hatred. She even pity’s her sister for dressing up to go to a place “with all the running yelling kids and the flies”. This part shows Connie’s immaturity. Connie’s immaturity and arrogance leads her to Arnold Friend, who had similar arrogance.
Connie hates anything that represents conformity. She does not bother to tell her parents about her situations. She even goes to places for people beyond her age. This makes her develop bad judgment, which eventually leads her into trouble. She wears two faces. One face is of an arrogant girl, which she displays while at home and another look of a classy girl, which she uses to impress men. She even goes with Eddie to his car although she did not know him. She thinks that her looks will prevent malicious people from hurting her but she realizes she was wrong when Arnold Friend threatens her and she ends up sacrificing herself to save her family from accident.
Connie’s body image is highly linked to her age. From the authors description, it is easy to tell that she is a teenage full of deceptive dreams and imaginations. She is yet to be exposed to the harsh word, but she considers herself mature. Therefore, Connie undergoes a right of passage from adolescence to adulthood before she achieves maturity. Her actions show immaturity, but her transition is showed when she leaves with Arnold without her parents’ consent.
Connie is an individual who desires attention from others. When she fails to get the attention from her family, she goes looking for it in other places. She satiates her desire for attention using her beauty. Connie lacks individuality and adopts two identities since she does not understand her true self. She uses a faked laughter and tone while away from home. This is because she is just a simple girl but wants to make others believe she is sophisticated. She thinks she is exception since she has good looks. However, fate forces her to transcend to her Connie-self. She realizes that beauty is not everything when she is unable to handle Arnold friend and realizes she is a mere girl who can be blackmailed.
Conclusively, Connie is a character with two identities resulting from excessive self-confidence. She is confused about her identity and thinks that beauty is all that counts in life. She uses her beauty to satiate her fantasies but ends up in wrong hands. She is arrogant and refuses to go with her family but ends up regretting when Arnold Friend blackmails her and she has to leave with him to save her family