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“Young Goodman Brown” and “Where Are You Going Where Have You Been”: Critical Analysis of Short Stories

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Both stories “Young Goodman Brown” and “Where Are You Going Where Have You Been,” include protagonists that communicate with forces of evil in their normal lives. A few may believe that the evilness comes from within the characters themselves, but others may believe comes from within the Devil himself. The evil figure in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” is way more dangerous than the protagonist in “Young Goodman Brown” because the Devil’s presence is more evil, dangerous, and life threatening.

In “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” Arnold Friend manipulates Connie into getting in his car and going for a ride. “Dont’cha wanta see what’s on the car? Dont’cha wanta go for a ride?” (Friend, 6). Connie gets a strange feeling that she shouldn’t enter the car so she decides not to and she doesn’t enter the car. “He’s kinda strange (Connie, 2) The author points out how strange ARnold friend is. He wears tight jeans that showed his thighs and buttocks and the greasy leather boots and the tight shirt. Connie also finds it strange how he communicates with her and tries to convince Connie to join him.

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Towards the beginning of the story, at home Connie appears childish, but away from home, she strives to appear sexy, mature, and quite seductive. “Everything about her had two sides to it, one for home and one for anywhere that was not home: her walk, which could be childlike and bobbing, or languid enough to make anyone think she was hearing music in her head; her mouth, which was pale and smirking most of the time, but bright pink on evenings out; her last which was cynical and drawling at home...but high-pitched and nervous anywhere else… (Oates, 4). For the most part, her two sides seem to exist in harmony. She argues with her mother and sister at home, but otherwise her transition from child to woman and back again seems to happen effortlessly. However, the fact that Connie has two sides rather than one stable, fully developed personality highlights the awkward, fearful stage is in as an adolescent. Throughout the story, we see that she is unsure and who she is- what is actually her in what is a fabricated image of who she wants to be. Her highly confident smirk and laugh at home give way to a more uncertain giggly laugh and girly, pink, mouth-which actually makes her seem highly immature. The gap between her former self and new, adult self is uncertain and observed as dangerous. When arnold friend appears, he exploits it.

Connie lunged for the phone and tried and failed when attempting to make a phone call. Arnold has repeatedly assured her that he won’t come inside the house unless she touches the telephone, which, until this moment, has deterred COnnie from trying to call the police. However, after Arnold’s remarks become more overtly threatening, she panics and makes a move for the phone, which she is then too terrified to do anything with. “She cried out, she cried for her mother, she felt her breath start jerking back and forth in her lungs as if it were something Arnold Friend was stabbing her again and again with no tenderness’ (Oates, 7). These violent, explicit lines strongly suggest that Arnold has entered the house and his raping Connie-the “stabbing” and “no tenderness,” as well as her extreme distress, all suggests that this violent moment is a rape.

In conclusion, when Connie finally decides to cross the threshold, the last vision the story gives us is Arnold friend, who is surrounded by, “Vast sunlit reaches of land”. On how we interpret this vision resolve how we observe Connie’s final decision, which is an act of defeat. Therefore, because Connie gave in, Arnold friend, the protagonist in “Where Are You Going Where Have You Been” is way more dangerous than the protagonist in “Young Goodman Brown.”

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“Young Goodman Brown” and “Where Are You Going Where Have You Been”: Critical Analysis of Short Stories. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 26, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/young-goodman-brown-and-where-are-you-going-where-have-you-been-critical-analysis-of-short-stories/
““Young Goodman Brown” and “Where Are You Going Where Have You Been”: Critical Analysis of Short Stories.” Edubirdie, 27 Dec. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/young-goodman-brown-and-where-are-you-going-where-have-you-been-critical-analysis-of-short-stories/
“Young Goodman Brown” and “Where Are You Going Where Have You Been”: Critical Analysis of Short Stories. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/young-goodman-brown-and-where-are-you-going-where-have-you-been-critical-analysis-of-short-stories/> [Accessed 26 Feb. 2024].
“Young Goodman Brown” and “Where Are You Going Where Have You Been”: Critical Analysis of Short Stories [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Dec 27 [cited 2024 Feb 26]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/young-goodman-brown-and-where-are-you-going-where-have-you-been-critical-analysis-of-short-stories/
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