Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?
WhereAre You Going? Where Have You Been?
WhereAre You Going? Where Have You Been?is written by Joyce Qates. The author introduces a teenage girl,Connie, who frequently checks herself in the mirrors. It is the timeto experiment both her sexuality and identity remaining as the mostdesirable thing. She draws the attentions of many boys and men whomwould wish to have her around. Arnold Friend is portrayed to be soclose to Connie in the tale. The story can be read as a descriptionof a shifting culture, an account of feminism, an allegory, crime, ora moral parable. In general, the author highlights a deliberatebarrier to the improvement of women’s rights. Violation of women’srights mostly starts from teenagers. I support that most adolescentgirls are vulnerable to predators, older boys, probably due to theirlooks or appearances, but at the same time, it depends onindividual’s characters based on family background.
Connieemphasizes romance and beauty through film and music in the talebecause she knows she is pretty, which meant everything. Shefrequently checks her reflection in the mirrors to get assured andlater judges her beauty by the attention she gets from boys. However,according to Qates, all these are myths. Her hair is long, whichsymbolizes her vanity and beauty. She adores the culture she lives insuch a way that, she believes mothers prefer beautiful daughters whoare attractive to be a complete woman. Arnold Friend has disturbingand violent visits to where she lives. In this case, I do notcriticize Connie for her vanity, but his friend’s visits that evengo beyond punishment. This is what makes Connie advance in beautiesto impress Arnold Friends who seems to have much love and attentionto her than others. He knows how to define her and likes to controlwhat she does.
Connie’slife weighs between two bleak choices. She either remains in herranch house to mature like her sister for better future or sheincline at the mercy of a gentleman leading to undisclosed suffering.However, at her age of 15 years, she cannot understand all this. Sheis surrounded by new freedoms which have hidden dangers. Connie’scharacters depict ethical feminist principles amongst young girls,which cannot protect her from boys. Even the author is distracted onhow to offer apologies or solutions. It is hard to determine on whichside to take or criticize because Connie has both cultural and peerinfluences. At adolescent, the youngsters tend to have friends andmost of them get tempted to try new stuff or actions such as drinkingalcohol, having intimacy, using hard drugs and hiking with friends.
Inthe 1950s and 1960s is when American Civil Rights Movements andSexual Revolution began, which depended on traditional moralauthority in homes by parents or guardians. In Connie’s context,there is the absence of higher authority. Both parents fail tocontrol her behaviors by putting useful rules. Instead, Connie’smother is jealous of her, probably due to her beauty. The freedommakes Connie declare her will and autonomy. She experiments witholder boys and then gives lies upon her activities. At home, Conniestays contrary to her mother’s desires. She also develops signs ofwomanhood and independence both at home and while with friends. Sheflirts so much with friends who make her remain dreamy and depressedteenager at home.
Religionis also lacking in Connie’s life. It is another source of moralauthority that parents should use to monitor their children. It seemsnobody in the family attends church. Instead, Connie usually listensto music on Sunday to kill the monotony. It serves as a secularreligion to her. In one Sunday, all family members were out, creatingchances of her to sneak out to accompany Arnold and other friends.Lack of religious guidance also exposes youngsters to engage inimmoralities and drug abuses. Religious beliefs create fear for Godin both the children and adults, preventing engagement into evil orimmoral activities. If the parents fail to nurture their childreninto religion, they will become vulnerable to other disgustingactivities like Connie, who is sexually violated and assaulted.
Inconclusion, it is portrayed well in the story that, Connie’sparents contributes much into her characters due to inadequatenurturing. Her mother always criticizes Connie’s behavior in amanner suggesting that she was jealous. It is the responsibility ofevery parent to monitor their children in the right way to preventthem from engaging in immoral activities. However, there are someyoung girls with acceptable characters but get violated by olderyouths. In many countries around the world, sexual harassment,discrimination or assault is barred under the law to protect bothchildren and adults. Therefore, the justice systems of thosecountries should punish the sexual offenders by jailing or imposinghuge fines on them. For example, Arnold Friend could be a victim. Iwould encourage the parents to read the novel for proper guide on howto monitor their children well until they become independent, andprevent immoralities.
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