2 JOYCE CAROL OATES Born in Lockport, New York in She grew up on her parents' farm, outside the town, and went to the same one-room schoolhouse her mother had attended. Joyce enjoyed the natural environment of farm country, and displayed a precocious interest in books and writing. Although her parents had little education, they encouraged her ambitions. When, at age 14, her grandmother gave her her first typewriter, she began consciously preparing herself, "writing novel after novel" throughout high school and college. As of this writing, Joyce Carol Oates has written 56 novels, over 30 collections of short stories, eight volumes of poetry, plays, innumerable essays and book reviews, as well as longer nonfiction works on literary subjects ranging from the poetry of Emily Dickinson and the fiction of Dostoyevsky and James Joyce, to studies of the gothic and horror genres, and on such non-literary subjects as the painter George Bellows and the boxer Mike Tyson. In 1996, Oates received the PEN/Malamud Award for "a lifetime of literary achievement.
3 WHERE ARE YOU GOING, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? is considered one of Oates s most famous works. First published in the literary journal Epoch in 1966, it was later included in the shortstory collection The Wheel of Love (1970). Like many of Oates s short stories, it features a female protagonist struggling with adolescence who finds herself in a dangerous situation. This story was adapted for the 1988 movie Smooth Talk, starring Laura Dern.
4 MAJOR CHARACTERS: CONNIE The fifteen-year-old protagonist of the story. Connie is in the midst of an adolescent rebellion. She argues with her mother and sister, June, and neglects family life in favor of scoping out boys at the local restaurant. She tries to appear older and wiser than she is, and her head is filled with daydreams and popular music that feed her ideas of romance and love. When Arnold Friend arrives at Connie s house, she must confront the harsh realities of adulthood, which bear little resemblance to her fantasies.
5 MAJOR CHARACTERS: ARNOLD FRIEND A dangerous figure who comes to Connie s house and threatens her. Arnold has pale, almost translucent skin; his hair looks like a wig; and he appears both old and young at the same time. He seems like a demonic figure, (Arch Fiend) perhaps even a nightmare rather than an actual human being, but his true character is never fully clarified. He speaks calmly and quietly to Connie, which makes him seem even more threatening, and in an ambiguous scene near the end of the story, he may attack her inside her home. He ultimately convinces Connie to get in the car with him.
6 MAJOR CHARACTERS: CONNIE S MOM A near-constant source of frustration for Connie. Connie and her mother bicker constantly and disagree about almost everything. Connie s mother envies Connie s youth and beauty, which she herself has lost. At the end of the story, Connie s mother is whom Connie cries out for when she is presumably attacked by Arnold.
7 MAJOR CHARACTERS: JUNE Connie s older sister. June is nearly the opposite of Connie. Twenty-four years old, overweight, and still living at home, she is a placid, dutiful daughter. She obeys her parents and does chores without complaining. Because June goes out at night with her friends, Connie is permitted to do so as well.
8 IMPORTANT THEMES, MOTIFS, SYMBOLS Theme: Fantasy versus Reality Theme: The Search for Independence Theme: Archetype of Death and the Maiden Motif: Dizziness Motif: Music Symbol: Arnold s Car: numbers, etc.
9 DEDICATION: BOB DYLAN Dedicated to Bob Dylan, and she has claimed that the story was influenced by Dylan s haunting song It s All Over Now, Baby Blue. You must leave now, take what you need, you think will last/but whatever you wish to keep, you better grab it fast... The vagabond who s rapping at your door / Is standing in the clothes that you once wore / Strike another match, go start anew / And it s all over now, Baby Blue. /Your lover who just walked out the door/ Has taken all his blankets from the floor/the carpet, too, is moving under you/and it's all over now, Baby Blue.
10 THE INSPIRATION FOR THE STORY Partly inspired by the tale of Charles Schmid as read in Life. Q? What would make a young girl be lured by a man with so little going for him? To Oates, Connie was both the prototypical American teenager of her day and the embodiment of the old myths of females being vulnerable to the illusive blend of death and eroticism. The story captures the longing of the teenage heart for someone who promises the moon. It also touches on the limited options of adolescent girls, invasive victimization, and the American obsession with violence. Oates herself described the tale as "Hawthornean, romantic, shading into parable."
11 THE MAIDEN "For the writer," Oates commented, "the serial killer is, abstractly, an analogue of the imagination's caprices and amorality; the sense that, no matter the dictates and even the wishes of the conscious social self, the life or will or purpose of the imagination is incomprehensible, unpredictable."
12 CHARLES SCHMID, JR. THE PIED PIPER OF TUCSON, AZ. Born to an unwed mother on July 8, 1942 and was adopted by Charles and Katharine Schmid Charles, Jr. grew up an indifferent, chance taking trickster who grew to hate his foster father and openly demonstrated this through frequent arguments Had little regard for learning and a fear for being alone; therefore, he did many things to get people to notice him. (details on Schmid are from article by Katherine Ramsland)
13 TRAITS Nicknamed Smitty Although slightly odd, girls seemed to go for him and kids found him exciting to hang out with due to his unrestricted lifestyle. Used make-up to darken his skin and applied Chapstick so thick that his upper lip appeared white. One friend noticed that a tiny mole he had darkened on his cheek seemed to get larger over time.
14 TRAITS (CONT.) He chewed on a toothpick and at times applied a clothespin on his lower lip, presumably to give it a deeper droop. Wanted to be Elvislike. He told parents of girls he dated that he wore the make-up because he was in a rock band. Boots special-made, his own design, black & laced all the way up the back, w/ a cowboy heel and pointed toes. He stuffed them to make himself look taller. He explained his awkward stride to girls as he had been a cripple. This made them, pliable and easy.
15 THE WOOING BEGINS Often took money off of many of the girlfriends that he had. Tried to take advantage of them by telling them stories about having some form of cancer and, did not have much time to live. Used salt to make his eyes tear up so he could convince a girl that was overwhelmed by the privilege of being with her.
16 MORE BACKGROUND INFO. Smitty hung around the high school, luring girls into his car. He became a folk hero to kids who couldn t quite find themselves because he was cool, older, and knew things. Many girls went out with him and three never returned.
17 Changed his name to Paul David Ashley Known for strutting around the prison and acting superior to the other prisoners. One day, sick of his superior attitude, two inmates attacked Charles/Paul. He was found moments later stabbed & in a pool of blood. Result a sucking wound in the right chest that did not respond to surgery and one eye had to be removed (crimelibrary.com). He had over 20 stab wounds to his face and chest. Ten days later, he died (3/30/75). He was buried in the prison cemetery.
18 THEME: DEATH & THE MAIDEN Oates has stated that she had the "Death and the Maiden" folktales in the back of her mind as she wrote this story; she even considered "Death and the Maiden" as a title. PJ Lynch:
19 Rape of Persephone Bernini. Theme: Death & The Maiden A common motif in Renaissance art, the "Death and the Maiden" trope has origins in the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades. Persephone, the daughter of the goddess Demeter, is ensnared by Hades and doomed to live with him in the underworld for six months of the year. This myth is taken up as a larger allegory about the confrontation between love and death.
20 THEME: DEATH & THE MAIDEN Oates may also have had in mind Franz Schubert's famous song "Death and the Maiden," in which Death poses as a "friend" to the maiden, who pleads with him not to "touch" her. "[The] story is clearly an allegory of the fatal attractions of death (or the devil)," Oates explains. "An innocent young girl is seduced by way of her own vanity; she mistakes death for erotic romance of a particularly American/trashy sort" (source). But it's only when Connie confronts Death (i.e., Arnold Friend) that she's able to move beyond her superficial values to something higher, to "heroism." Adolf Hering, Death and the Maiden, 1900
21 QUESTIONS Start with the questions posed by the title. Where has Connie been (in her life)? Where is she going now? What makes this a coming of age story? Do you see Friend as being a symbolic character? The Devil? The violent side of American male identity? Death personified? Is he a projection of Connie's repressed desires for fast cars, loose morals, rock and roll, cruising, sexual liberation? Why does Connie submit to Arnold Friend? Does she have any choice in the matter? Is Oates making a thematic point here, as in, Connie must enter the world of adulthood, sexual maturity, even the threatening world of male dominated society, no matter what? Is her leaving a sacrifice? A selfless act to protect her family from certain death? Oates even offers some fascinating puzzles for us to ponder. What is the meaning of Arnold's numeric code on the car door? Lots of theories about this one
22 WORKS CITED Everett, David. Human Monsters: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the World's Most Vicious Murderers. NY: Contemporary Books, Gilmore, John. Cold-Blooded: The Saga of Charles Schmid, the Notorious "Pied Piper of Tucson" Portland, OR: Feral House, Lane, Brian, and Wilfred Gregg. The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers. New York:1995. Moser, Don. "The Pied Piper of Tucson," Life, March 4, 1966, 19-24, 80C- 90C. Ramsland, Katherine Charles Schmid: The Pied Piper. Crime Library: Criminal Minds & Methods. Available: ml. SparkNotes Editors. SparkNote on Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?. SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC Web. 17 Jan
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