Wow… This may have been one of the most breath taking short stories I have read other than Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery.” “Where Are You Going Where Have You Been” was one of the most thrilling stories I have ever experienced. It kept my heart pounding what was going to happen, and who Arnold Friend really is, or really was. The way Connie described the situation was that Arnold and his friend Ellie were older perverted men, and just wanted to have their way with her. This is the way Connie feels as a person. She feels that she is a sex object for other guys. She puts that label on herself though. The way she dresses anywhere but home, the way she smiles and giggles anywhere but home, and the way she talks to other guys. She walks into places like the soda bottle diner wanting to be the center of attention.
This short story really messes with your thought process. The whole time you think Arnold is just some creepy stalker. Arnold knows Connie, all of her friends, her family, etc. by detail. You think he is going to bust through the door of Connie’s house and have his way with her. Force her to have sex with him, and brutally beat her. Then you realize Arnold is just trying to help Connie out of a rut. Connie and her friends have dug themselves a hole by flirting with all these different guys. They have all created a general idea about these guys and feel like they can do whatever they want to these guys, like they are invincible. Connie is so full of herself that she feels trapped, not knowing what to do. When she is with her friends, away from home, she is a much different person. When she is at home, and creepy old men show up at her doorstep she has no idea what to do.
At first I thought the ending of this book was really bad and that no connections were made then I realized that the ending made perfect sense. Connie is so full of herself, being beautiful and trying to get with all these guys that she does not realize the world around her. She is trapped in la la land chasing these guys around, she does not recognize her home, her family, etc. Arnold Friend can merely just be a figment of Connie’s imagination. A person that she created to be a true friend, a friend that will help her out of the rut that she is in, hence why his last name is Friend. You think he is going to rape her but he truly just wants to show Connie the world around her. He kept saying that she knew him, maybe he is her imaginary friend, or maybe he is even god.