Connie’s Choice in Where are you Going, Where have you Been?


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Where are you Going, Where have you Been? – Connie’s Choice     

I think Connie opened the screen door because she wanted to escape from her life with her family into some kind of fantasy. I think there were other reasons also, but the story points to this one in many places.

First of all, Connie was not happy at home. The story says that her father "was away at work most of the time," and "didn't bother talking much to them," so Connie didn't have love from him and had to find male attention somewhere else. Connie found her happiness in escaping with her friend to the drive-in restaurant and daydreaming about boys. But the happiness she found in both of these things had nothing to do with actual events; it is based on a fantasy. When she was out at the drive-in with a boy, her face gleamed "with the joy that had nothing to do with Eddie or even this place; it might have been the music." When she daydreamed about boys, they all "fell back and dissolved into a single face that was not even a face, but an idea, a feeling mixed up with the urgent pounding of the music..."

A theme that runs through this story is that music seems to be the bridge from the real world into Connie's fantasy world. She doesn't know what she wants, but it's got something to do with "the music that made everything so good." When Arnold Friend drove up the driveway, Connie was listening to music, "bathed in a glow of slow-pulsed joy." She soon discovered that he was playing the same music in his car. This is not a coincidence; I think it makes a connection in the back of Connie's mind. And, the story says that it seemed to Connie like Arnold "had come from nowhere," and "belonged nowhere," and that everything about him "was only half real."

I think in some strange way Arnold becomes to Connie the way to escape into her fantasy. When she learns his true intentions she is scared to death at first but eventually that fear gives way to "an emptiness." Connie thinks, "I'm not going to see my mother again... I'm not going to sleep in my bed again.

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" There are many reasons she could have thought that, but one reason may be because she is going to escape from her old life. Maybe she has made her decision at that moment. Connie no longer resists Arnold after this moment, but does everything he says. And as she steps out the door, she sees the "vast sunlit reaches of the land behind him," in contrast with the house she is leaving, which "looked small." She is stepping out into her fantasy world, or so she thinks.

 


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