English and Literature

English 202 Online:  Short Story Essay Directions
Please follow the directions shown below for your Short Story Essay.
General Directions
As is indicated on the Week 4 Assignments page, and in other forums, you should consider this essay a potential first draft of the Research Essay due at the end of the semester, Week 7.  In other words, you should write an essay based on a minimum of two outside sources related to onestory and/or author on our short story reading list through Week 3.  If it helps, think of this essay as two thirds of a Research Essay in terms of the number of required sources.  And, you may use your Research Report 1 or Research Report 2  (or both) as the basis for your essay.  If you have written about the same author and literary work for Research Report 1 and Research Report 2, for instance, then you could combine them for the essay.  In fact, I encourage you to do so.  I'm trying to make your writing in the course as painless as possible by giving you the opportunity to use work you've already completed for subsequent assignments. 
As is the case for the research reports, your sources must be limited to the following:  (1) a biographical source about the author, (2) a critical or scholarly outside source that discusses the literary work, and/or (3) a source about a contemporary theme or issue which relates specifically to the literary work you've chosen. 
You may use any combination of these sources, as long as they are coherently connected in the essay.  The more sources you use in this essay, the less you'll need to worry about for the Research Essay, if you choose to do so.  However, as is the case for research reports, and will be for the Research Essay due at the end of the semester, all sources used must be legitimate.  See the the document titled Using Research Sources, which you'll find in the Course Documents section of the Blackboard site.
Remember, I’m looking for more than merely biographical information, a summary of what a critic has to say about the literary work, or a summary of a source about a contemporary issue.  In other words, whatever sources you choose to discuss, they all must in some way be explicitly connected to one story listed on the Course Calendar
Note:  Always keep in mind the essay’s ultimate purpose.  That is, ask yourself what a reader should learn or gain from reading your essay, and make that purpose clear to the reader.
Write the essay as though it were being read by a general college-educated audience. Think like an academic writer by providing the necessary context for an educated reader who is not taking this course.
Evaluation Criteria
Review the list of criteria for successful English 202 essays in your syllabus, as well as the Academic Essay Rubric, which is posted in the Course Documents section of the Blackboard site.  Perhaps the most important criterion will be how you've made explicit connections between the research sources and the author and/or literary work you've chosen.
The essay should be a minimum of three double-spaced typed pages, using 12-point Times New Roman font and one-inch margins. 
Please refer to the Short story and drama essays subheading under the Final Grade Percentages heading in your course syllabus.  Your essay, of course, must be formatted using MLA Documentation style for formatting, in-text citations, and the Works Cited page.  Click here to see an explanation and model of an MLA-formatted essay from Purdue University's Online Writing Lab
Title: Existential Allegory: Joyce Carol Oates 'Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'
Publication Details: Studies in Short Fiction. (Spring 1978): p200-203.
Source: Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Dedria Bryfonski. Vol. 11. Detroit: Gale Research, 1979. From Literature Resource Center.
Document Type: Critical essay
Full Text: COPYRIGHT 1979 Gale Research, COPYRIGHT 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning
Full Text: 
Fifteen-year-old Connie's acquiescence to Arnold Friend's threat-ridden seduction is an appropriate finale to Joyce Carol Oates's “ Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” in a narrative which, upon careful analysis, suggests existential allegory. Many critics have classified Oates's work as realistic or naturalistic, whereas Samuel J. Pickering categorizes her short stories as subjective romanticism to a fault [see CLC, Vol. 6]. Most, however, agree she is writing in the tradition of Dreiser, Faulkner , and O'Connor , but few have acknowledged the allegorical nature of her work. Veiling the intent of “Where Are You Going …” in realistic detail, Oates sets up the framework of a religious allegory— the seduction of Eve—and with it renders a contemporary existential initiation theme—that of a young person coming to grips with externally determined fate. (p. 200)
From the outset of the narrative, members of Connie's family recognize their powerlessness and thus their difference from her. Her mother and sister are not attractive, so they do not really count; and her father, who spends most of his time at work, is weak…. Thus, in refusing to attend a family picnic, Connie is rejecting not only her family's company, but the settled order of their existence—in which recognition of “excluded alternatives” is tantamount to acceptance of their lives.
The popular music which permeates “Where Are You Going …” is at the same time the narrative's zeitgeist and leitmotiv, serving as the former in order to maintain plausible realism, and the latter to establish allegorical significance. The recurring music then, while ostensibly innocuous realistic detail, is in fact, the vehicle of Connie's seduction and because of its intangibility, not immediately recognizable as such. Attesting to the significance of the zeitgeist in this narrative, “Where Are You Going…” is dedicated to Bob Dylan, who contributed to making music almost religious in dimension among the youth. It is music—instead of an apple—which lures Connie, quickens her heartbeat; and popular lyrics which constitute Friend's conversation and cadence—his promises, threats, and the careless confidence with which he seduces her. (pp. 200–01)
Oates employs musical metaphor in her description of Friend. “He spoke in a simple lilting voice, exactly as if he were reciting the words to a song.” … Intrinsic to Friend's function is the fact that he himself is a record. While waiting for Connie to accept his ride offer, “he began to mark time with the music from Ellie's radio.” … Even their union is presaged by the sexually pointed observation of Connie listening “to the music from her radio and the boy's blend together.” …
The images which overtly suggest religious allegory while more subtly supporting the existential theme, are interspersed throughout the work. When Connie and her girl friend first enter the local “hang-out” where the girls and boys meet, they feel “as if they were entering a sacred building” where background music seems like that of a “church service.” … The day of the cook-out, which is significant both because it is the day of her defiance of her parents and the day of her capitulation to Friend, is a Sunday. (p. 201)
Friend is a strange syncretism of O'Connor 's Bible-pedaling Manley Pointer in manner, and Satan in appearance. When Connie first observes Friend, she notices his “shaggy black hair,” his “jalopy painted gold,” and his broad grin. As the narrative progresses, his features appear more ominous, his hair like a wig, his slitted eyes “like chips of broken glass” with “thick black tarlike” lashes when not covered by mirrored, but masking sunglasses ; and he looks older. Like Milton's Satan “crested aloft and Carbuncle his Eyes with burnished Neck of verdant Gold, erect,” Friend posited atop his golden jalopy, has a muscular neck which suggests the reptilian, as does the fact that he “slid” rather than stepped out of the car. His feet resemble the devil's cloven hooves: “One of his boots was at a strange angle, as if his foot wasn't in it.” … (pp. 201–02)
Friend's mesmeric influence on Connie further supports my contention that he represents a superhuman force. “Don't you know who I am?” … he asks in an eery fashion, as if she had encountered him before, as one does evil. She is unable to make a telephone call for help because he is watching her; she bumps against a piece of furniture in a familiar room; and when he commands her to do what would otherwise seem an irrational act, to place her hand on her heart to understand its flaccidity, she readily obeys. His directives culminate when he convinces her, “What else is there for a girl like you but to be sweet and pretty and give in.” …
The recurring use of a twentieth-century symbol of irony—the false smile—further veils the existential meaning in realistic narrative. Over the student drive-in hangs a “revolving figure of a grinning boy holding a hamburger aloft.” … And Friend intersperses smiles with threats.” …
In the end, Oates makes it clear that Connie, in capitulating to Friend, is not simply surrendering her virginal innocence, but bowing to absolute forces which her youthful coquetry cannot direct—absolute forces over which she has no control. At this point she thinks for the first time in her life that her heart “was nothing that was hers … but just a pounding, living thing inside this body that wasn't really hers either.” …
In the seduction which Friend engineers, Connie is merely the personification of the female he wishes to dominate, to be taller than, to despoil. The phrases he delivers from his musical repertoire are not even tailored to Connie: “`My sweet little blue-eyed girl' he said in a half-sung sigh that had nothing to do with her brown eyes.” …(p. 202)
In the presentation of this complex narrative, the major characters represent two distinct personifications in the dual levels of the allegory. It is apparent that Friend represents the devil who tempts the chaste yet morally vacuous girl-victim. Yet upon closer analysis, it appears that Connie takes the active part as Everyman experiencing the inevitable realization of her insignificance and powerlessness while Friend, who personifies the Erinyes, is merely the catalyst.
Although Oates uses the trappings of a realist to craft plausible characters—a dreamy teenaged girl, a hypnotic Manson-like man—and renders a facsimile of awkward adolescent behavior and speech, with contemporary youth's devotion to popular music as a convincing zeitgeist, this must not obscure her design. She presents an allegory which applies existential initiation rites to the Biblical seduction myth to represent Everyman's transition from the illusion of free will to the realization of externally determined fate. (pp. 202–03)
Source Citation   (MLA 7th Edition)
Urbanski, Marie Mitchell Olesen. “Existential Allegory: Joyce Carol Oates 'Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'.” Studies in Short Fiction (Spring 1978): 200-203. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Dedria Bryfonski. Vol. 11. Detroit: Gale Research, 1979. Literature Resource Center. Web. 2 July 2014.
Document URL

Gale Document Number: GALE|H1100001514