What is most interesting about Connie is the fact that her character will always be modern. She will always be a prototype of a liberated American girl. She wears flat ballerina slippers and shorts as well as interesting blouses. Her long dark blond hair attracts attention as well as the way she walks. She is young, reckless, a little bit vain and free-spirited. I respect the choices her character makes because everything she does is for her own pleasure and it is also a part of growing up. Connie makes her own decisions and that is good because she will grow up to be an independent adult. My most dominant impression about her is her courage to make her own rules in her own life. She is still a minor, but she has a strong personality.
Connie’s character was created by describing her physical appearance, her age, her attitude towards life and by her actions. She is rebellious to some extent but she never puts her life in danger consciously. However, attractive girls have always been a target for psychopaths. Connie is unaware of that at first, but she becomes more cautious as she gains more experience. She thinks that she is experienced enough to judge people’s characters. That is why she accepts going to a restaurant with Eddie, the boy she’d just met. She likes to flirt, but her style is non-verbal. Some of her friends don’t have a good reputation and she is aware of that and therefore tells her mother that she doesn’t socialize with them. To some extent, she is not lying because she is highly individual. Her friendships are not deep. They are superficial and serve her for the purpose of having fun. Her language is polite towards her friends, but she is defensive when talking to strangers. When Arnold comes to her house, she stands up for herself. She realizes than he is much older than her and she fight him. Since, this is all happening in her dream, it is her subconscious mind warning her about the dangers in life. She feels that there is no place where she could be safe, not even in her own home. Connie knows exactly what kind of language to use with different people. She is always honest and highly intelligent young girl. Her language is concrete and literal. The representation is symbolic because everything that happens in the story after Connie stays at home alone, while her family is attending a barbecue, is surreal. It is depicted in such a way that it is dream-like. Arnold is a symbol of brutality and ignorance. His friend Ellie is his companion. It is clear that they are psychopaths lurking young attractive girls. When Connie saw this boy in the parking lot many nights before, she remembered him and it remained in her unconscious. In her dream, the story developed. However, her dream doesn’t have an ending, it is open, but the tone is optimistic because Connie is a brave girl. She seems to be physically strong as well and her mind is also what could help her surpass all the trouble that could happen to her.
Connie’s real self is a self-confident young girl, who is growing up fast. She has her family and her friends and her attitude towards them differ. Her mother understands her, but doesn’t approve of what she thinks is Connie’s vanity. However, Connie is not vain, she is only enjoying her youth and beauty. It is the dream of many girls to be attractive. She is at that age when she is becoming aware of it. She still has no serious problems in her life, her main problem being washing her beautiful hair. Her sister, on the other hand, is twenty-four and still living at home. She has a job, but she obviously isn’t married or independent. She doesn’t seem to have a fulfilled life. Connie goes to school and has a social life. She goes to the shopping plaza and to a drive-in restaurant with her friends and they often watch movies. All of this constitutes her real self. Her real self also includes her good relationship with her mother although it seems that they don’t get along because it is suggested that her mother is slightly depressed for losing her good looks with age. However, she is still proud of Connie although she praises her other daughter, June, more. Therefore, Connie’s derived identity comes from the expectations of others. Her derived identity comes to the surface when she is in company. Her true self reveals when she is alone. Music is what defines her. Her whole life revolves around having fun and music is setting the tone. In fact, this whole story, and Connie’s character were inspired by Bob Dylan’s song “It’s All Over Now, Bay Blue”. The phrase “it’s all over now” suggest that the there is more to life than just having fun. Connie’s dream makes her aware of that.
The catalyst compelling Connie to create a second self is the society. She lives in a middleclass society with her family. The story happens in summer of 1966. She knows the people from her neighborhood well, so it means that she should be safe even when she stays home alone. When Connie is with her girl friends, she likes to seduce boys. Her body language is different at home as well as the way she wears her clothes, although she wears the same clothes. Her older sister is plane and modest. She is not ugly, but she is depicted as dull. Her father gives her freedom, but her mother tries to control her to some extent. All these factors influence the constant change in her behavior. Her real self doesn’t differ much from her derived identity and that is because she is still growing up, discovering her sexuality and trying to fit in the society. Her choice to go and have a hamburger with Eddie suggests that she isn’t careful when deciding whom she decides to trust. It is not recommendable for a young girl to get into a car with a boy she doesn’t know at all.
Connie is a character that is significant and typical for modern times. Although this short story was written in 1966, it still influential. Many girls can identify themselves with Connie because she is a brave individual and still a teenager. Every girl wants to be independent at that age. Connie is a real symbol of youth, attractiveness and self-confidence. In some way, she is even a feminist because she defends her rights and does things her own way. Music makes her enjoy life even more. It makes her feel alive. In some way, she is also exploring her creativity and discovering her own personality and true nature. Only pure souls can enjoy simple things in life. However, Connie is still at a tender age and a lot of growing up is in front of her. She is on a good path. Her character is exciting, provocative and inspiring.
Oates, Joyce C. Where are you going, where have you been?. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1994. Print.