The a major impact on the events that

The story, “Where
Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” written by Shirley Jackson captures the
life of a vain teenage girl, whose desire to fit in and grow up leads to a
frightening situation. This character’s conceited
personality as well as her unsupportive family life have a major impact on the events
that follow.

The story begins by introducing the protagonist, an
unpleasant fifteen year old girl named Connie. 
She is characterized as self-absorbed girl who is experiencing
adolescent rebellion for instance “She knew she was pretty and that was
everything.” (310)  Her narcissistic personality
causes a sense of disconnection to the reader. 
Connie is also very insecure as “she had a quick nervous giggling habit
of caning her neck to glance into mirrors or checking other people’s faces to
make sure hers was all right.” (310).  Her
days were spent either arguing with her family or spending time with her
friends at the mall where, “they would lean together to whisper and laugh
secretly if someone passed by who amused or interested them.” (311) 

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 The third
paragraph reveals Connie’s negative family relationships.  She lives at home with her mother, father and
sister June.  It is clear that Connie does
not get along with the members of her family. 
The nine-year age difference between her and June creates favouritism
from Connie’s mother, for example, “She was so plain and chunky and steady that
Connie had

Curtis 2

to hear her
praised all the time by her mother and her mother’s sisters.” (310).  The attitude of Connie’s mother has a large
role in Connie’s rebellion.  She feels an
immense amount of pressure due to the constant comparison of her and June, for
instance, “June did this, June did that, she saved money and helped clean the
house and cooked and Connie couldn’t do a thing, her mind was filled with
trashy daydreams.” (310).  This justifies
Connie’s insecurity and her need to be accepted by others outside her family
since she does not receive it at home.  Additionally,
Connie’s mother is the reasoning for her poor moral compass as her mother
frequently “kept picking at her” (310).  The
unsupportive and negative attitude towards her demonstrates to Connie that it
is acceptable to speak to others that way, therefore condoning Connie behaviour.  Furthermore, Connie’s behaviour exhibits an
absence of authority.  Her
father has removed himself from their family dynamic as he is, “away at work
most of the time and when he came home he wanted super and he read the
newspaper at supper and after supper he went to bed.” (310).  He is useless and closed off in the sense
that he does not offer any guidance to his family.  The fact that “he did not bother talking much
to them.” (310), presents the feeling that he does not care much about the
well-being of his family.  This also
justifies Connie need to be seen in public as she lacks it at home and has no real center of authority in her everyday life.

            The
third paragraph not only introduces the reasoning for Connie’s behavior, but is
also a foundation for the tragedy that lies ahead.  Connie’s insecurities and constant need to be
noticed are what lead her to meet the antagonist of the story, Arnold
Friend.  The lack of authority that is
given from her father has a significant influence in her actions as he “was
away at work most of the time” and “didn’t bother to talking much to them”
(310).  This creates a need for Connie to
receive attention from

Curtis 3

others since she does not gain that satisfaction
at home.  This also leads to a deficiency
in her moral compass.  If Connie did not
lack a relationship with her father it is likely that she would have a different
set of mannerisms and would never have found herself in the terrifying situation
with Arnold Friend.

Moreover, this paragraph shows Connie’s behavior
of going out with her friends and sexualizing themselves in public being linked
to her insecurities related to her family life. 
Therefore, the third paragraph sets an understanding of Connie’s mindset
and the reasoning behind her actions.

 

Word Count: 686