Music

"The music was constantly in the background," the narrator tells us, "favor music in a church company, it was somepoint to depend upon" (6). Music is anywhere in this story, blaring out of radios in restaurants, cars, and homes. It"s so omniexisting, in truth, that it appears to have worked its way into the incredibly means characters think, act, and feel. For Connie, music is connected via sex; her feelings for boys are combined up with "the insistent pounding of the music" (10) and also its "slow-pulsed joy" (14). Arnold exploits the rhythm of famous music, via its repetition of catchy lyrics and straightforward melodies, when he cajoles Connie in a "basic lilting voice, exactly as if he were reciting the words to a song" (59). Due to the fact that it"s anywhere, music have the right to introduce a variety of different themes, including the impacts of popular society, the nature of sexual desire, and also the dynamics of mental manipulation.

The Car

Funny exactly how only guys gain to drive in the story, right? Fathers, boyfriends, rapists all obtain the wheel, yet never before a woguy. The just cite of a female driver is the "crazy womale driver" (36) who left a dent in Arnold"s automobile – most likely through good factor. Cars are a kind of mobility, freedom, and empowerment in the story that women don"t gain to gain. We"re a long, long method from Danica Patrick.

The Look

The first point we learn about Connie (besides her name and also her age) is that she has a "halittle of craning her neck to look right into mirrors or checking various other people"s faces to make sure her very own was all right" (1). Looking is a type of control in the novel: the one who looks has actually manage over the one who is looked at.

When Connie is under Arnold"s gaze, once she meets him for the initially time in the restaurant parking lot, she can not aid looking at him – twice. When Arnold first appears at her door, he"s wearing sunglasses, hiding himself from Connie"s gaze, while he"s complimentary to gaze at her all he wants. Connie is looked at for most of the story, an object to be ogled by males or envied by womales.

The last scene of the story, in which we check out Connie looking at herself as if from external her body, is highly ambivalent. It could be that Connie has actually yielded to the splitting-up of herself under the force of Arnold"s predatory stare. Or it might be that she is seeing herself plainly for the initially time as she goes out to meet her fate. What carry out you think?

Death and also the Maiden

Oates has proclaimed that she had the "Death and also the Maiden" folktales in the ago of her mind as she composed this story; she also considered "Death and also the Maiden" as a title.

A common motif in Renaissance art, the "Death and also the Maiden" trope has beginnings in the Greek myth of Persephone and also Hades. Persephone, the daughter of the goddess Demeter, is ensnared by Hades and doomed to live through him in the underpeople for six months of the year. This myth is taken up as a bigger allegory about the confrontation between love and fatality. (Check out this link for even more.)

Oates may additionally have actually had in mind Franz Schubert"s famed song "Death and the Maiden," in which Death poses as a "friend" to the maiden, that pleads through him not to "touch" her. " story is plainly an allegory of the fatal attractions of fatality (or the devil)," Oates describes. "An innocent young girl is seduced by method of her own vanity; she mistakes fatality for erotic romance of a particularly American/trashy sort" (source). But it"s just once Connie confronts Death (i.e., Arnold Friend) that she"s able to move beyond her superficial worths to something greater, to "heroism."

The Home

The literary critic Christina Marsden Gillis has said that the house in the story is a metaphor for the vulnercapability of a woman"s body in a male-conquered culture (source: Gillis, Christina Mardsen. "Where Are You Going, Wbelow Have You Been?": Seduction, Void, and a Fictional Mode). It"s absolutely an interesting theory to test out for yourself as you look at the way the actions are staged in the novel.


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In the story, a mindful orchestration of scenes via windows, on thresholds, in doormeans, versus wall surfaces, builds up to Connie"s final step into the past at the finish of the story. Is her last action a gesture of defeat, an acknowledgement that Arnold has torn down all the wall surfaces of her identity? Or is her last step a rejection of the residence and also the domestic values associated with it, personified by her mother? Hmm…