|This is the painting that the Celestial Timepiece|
website used to illustrate the story.
Definitely a creepy story. A story to reread. A story where you see, judge, deduce something a bit different every time you read it.
Somewhat average 15 year old girl, Connie, totally into herself. At this time in her life, her mother and sister are stupid and know nothing. Boy crazy. Loves fixing herself up and feeling good about her appearance. A little sneaky, but not too much.
The main part of the story - the part that gets creepy, is the second half. A summer Sunday. Connie has stayed home by herself, washed her hair, and is just hanging out in the yard and in the house when a yellow jalopy with two young men drive up her driveway. They're there looking for her.....
This is what Goodreads has to say about this story (Goodreads is always my "go to"):
Joyce Carol Oates’s prize-winning story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” takes up troubling subjects that continue to occupy her in her fiction: the romantic longings and limited options of adolescent women; the tensions between mothers and daughters; the sexual victimization of women; and the American obsession with violence. Inspired by a magazine story about a serial killer, its remarkable portrait of the dreamy teenager Connie has made it a feminist classic. Connie’s life anticipates the emergence of American society from the social innocence of the fifties into the harsher contemporary realities of war, random violence, and crime. The story was the basis for the movie Smooth Talk, which became the subject of much feminist debate.
Note: some of the reviews on Goodreads are FAR more insightful than some of the published essays I've read!