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Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

Characters

Connie

Characters Connie

Connie rejects the role of daughter, sister, and “nice” girl to cultivate her sexual persona, which flourishes only when she is away from her home and family. She makes fun of her frumpy older sister, June, and is in constant conflict with her family. Her concerns are typically adolescent: she obsesses about her looks, listens to music, hangs out with her friends, flirts with boys, and explores her sexuality. She takes great pleasure in the fact that boys and even men find her attractive. Connie has cultivated a particular manner of dressing, walking, and laughing that make her sexually appealing, although these mannerisms are only temporary affectations. She behaves one way in her home and an entirely different way when she is elsewhere. Her personality is split, and when she is at home, her sexuality goes into hiding. However, Arnold Friend’s arrival at her house forces her two sides to merge violently. In a way, Connie is not fully sexual until Arnold’s intrusion into her home—until then, her sexuality was something outside of her “true” self, the self that she allowed her family to see.

Connie works hard to prove her maturity, but despite her efforts with clothes and boys, she is not as mature as she would like to believe she is. She desperately wants to be attractive to older men, but once an older man—Arnold—actually pays her explicit sexual attention, she is terrified. She knows little about reality or what adulthood actually entails, preferring to lose herself in the rosy ideas of romance that her beloved pop songs promote. When Arnold appears at her house, she tries to seem in control and unfazed, but she eventually breaks down and is overpowered by him. In her moments of terror, she proves herself to be childlike: she calls out for her mother.