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Analysis Of A Flawed Perception

926 words - 4 pages

Through the experiences of the narcissistic Connie in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?,” Joyce Oates conveys an eye-opening lesson about perception. The lesson depicts that an individual’s judgment can be blinded by ignorance or vanity; hence, the significance of a clear and correct perception is crucial to understanding the truths of reality. In “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Benn?,” Connie, a fifteen year old girl, struggles to distinguish and separate truths from her own illusions. Oates uses Connie’s choices, actions, and interactions with other characters to portray the flaws in her understanding of herself, the adult world, and reality.
Oates illustrates that Connie’s ...view middle of the document...

Connie’s belief of her control extends to the manner in which she portrays herself in different environments:
“Everything about her [has] two sides to it, one for home and one for anywhere that [is] not home: her walk, which could be childlike and bobbing, or languid enough to make anyone think she [is] hearing music in her head; her mouth, which [is] pale and smirking most of the time, but bright and pink on evenings out; her laugh, which [is] cynical and drawling at home…but very high-pitched and nervous anywhere else” (4).
The façade Connie creates for herself suggests her view that she can manipulate her society to portray a more mature and attractive image of herself. Mistakenly, Connie bases her perception on the folly idea that she is pretty; her egotism clouds reality, ultimately, preventing her from discerning the truth of the events that occurs around her.
Connie’s misapprehensions of the adult world blind her from understanding even the simplest reality, making her vulnerable to the horrific character of Arnold Friend. Toying with the pleasures associated with adulthood, Connie fantasizes about romance and sexual experiences. She constantly thinks and dreams about “a single face that was not even a face but an idea, a feeling, mixed up with the urgent insistent pounding of the music and the humid night air of July” (7). The interactions that Connie connects to adulthood portray her immaturity, directly reflecting her inability to comprehend reality. Oates establish the Arnold is an embodiment of her fantasy but in a perverse and grotesque way. (8) As a result of her Despite being in the vulnerable situation that she is currently in, Connie shows no sign of fear when Arnold mentions that he...

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