Fantasy versus Reality

Essay by Danny95College, UndergraduateA, November 2014

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Daniel Rayos

Professor Leano

English 101

9 September 2014

It's Time To Face The Music

In Joyce Carol Oates' short story, "Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been," Connie is caught in the crossfire of the war between fantasy and reality in her teenage mind. This story clearly demonstrates that what one may see, is not what one always gets. Sometimes what an individual sees in his or her eyes, is not exactly what it appears to be in reality. People can delude themselves into creating their own "reality", when it is merely a fantasy. In Connie's case, she faces her struggle with fantasy and reality through pop culture's influence on her, her façade as a sexually mature woman, and her terrifying nightmare of Arnold Friend. It is through this story that Oates presents to the readers, the dangers of trading fantasy over reality.

The love and romance music she listens to and images of pop culture that she sees and embraces are far much different from the reality of adult sexuality.

Connie fills her mind "with trashy daydreams" (651), which indicates that her mind is filled with teenage lusts and fantasies. Connie spends most of her summer, "thinking, dreaming, about the boys she met. But all the boys fell back and dissolved into a single face that was not even a face, but an idea, a feeling, mixed up with the urgent insistent pounding of the music. . ." (653). Music is something that Connie connects to deeply and it actually functions as a symbol in this story. It symbolizes her safe haven- where she can escape to her fantasy- "trashy daydreams" from the harsh reality. Music is more so a pathway from the real word to the fantasy world. "The music was always in the background...