Where are You Going, where Have You Been?: Selected Early Stories
Joyce Carol Oates's prize-winning story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" takes up troubling subjects that continue to occupy her in her fiction: the romantic longings and limited options of adolescent women; the tensions between mothers and daughters; the sexual victimization of women; and the American obsession with violence. Inspired by a magazine story about a serial killer, its remarkable portrait of the dreamy teenager Connie has made it a feminist classic. Connie's life anticipates the emergence of American society from the social innocence of the fifties into the harsher contemporary realities of war, random violence, and crime. The story was the basis for the movie Smooth Talk, which became the subject of much feminist debate. This casebook includes an introduction by the editor, a chronology of Oates's life, and authoritative text of "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" an essay by Oates on Smooth Talk, the original Life article about the serial killer, ten critical essays (including two about the film), and a bibliography. The contributors are Brenda O. Daly, Christina Marsden Gillis, Don Moser, Tom Quirk, B. Ruby Rich, R.J.R. Rockwood, Larry Rubin, Gretchen Schultz, Marie Mitchell Oleson Urbanski, Joyce M. Wegs, and Joan D. Winslow. Elaine Showalter is Avalon Foundation Professor of Humanities at Princeton University. She is the author and editor of many books on women's writing, including Sister's Choice: Tradition and Change in American Women's Writing. A volume in the Women Writers: Texts and Contexts Series.
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For a moment Shell felt isolated by their laughter. Then he turned slowly and
glanced at his friends — Nick and Tony, like him sitting on their motorcycles. They
grinned back encouragingly, and he felt all right. "A old man like you shouldn't
talk so much," Shell said. He peered at himself thoughtfully in his mirror. "He ain't
got just that much time left to breathe in." He heard them laugh again, this time
Nick and Tony too. He felt good. The shiver of excitement returned, and he had a
For an instant she felt betrayed — as if he cherished the memory of that strange
little boy and ran out to keep it from her. She remembered the early days of her
motherhood, how contemptuous she had been of herself, of what she had
accomplished — a baby she refused to look at, a husband neurotic with worry, a
waiting life of motherhood so oppressive that she felt nausea contemplating it: is
this what I have become? What is this baby to me? Where am I? Where am 1?
And yet he could not locate in his memory of her the passion he always felt in her
presence. A kind of energy dominated them, gave them life; it did not belong to
either of them. Sometimes he went to stare at himself in a mirror, at home or
anywhere, in a public rest room, but he saw only his public, unpersonal face,
which was like a uniform. It was like Marian's uniform. That face took him
anywhere, flown in by helicopter to the airport, with his .308 Norma Magnum rifle.
What did it feel like ...
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Review: Where are You Going, Where Have You Been?: Selected Early StoriesUser Review - Erin O'Connell - Goodreads
Her stories keep you on an edge from the first paragraph until the last. She makes you want to read it over and over. Read full review
Review: Where are You Going, Where Have You Been?: Selected Early StoriesUser Review - Tracy - Goodreads
The pacing of this short story is phenomenal...and disturbing. Quite haunting. Read full review
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