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Custom Search for Independence essay paper sample

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The short story Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? was written by Joyce Carol Oates in 1966. Joyce Carol Oates is a renowned writer of short stories, she has written many of them. The song “It's All Over Now, Baby Blue” composed by Dylan inspired her in writing this breath taking story. The story is seen by many people as Oates’ the best one. Since its release it has been appeared in many textbooks and is being used by schools all over the world for teaching. The story looks into the life of an adolescent; the changes taking place, the excitement accompanied with this stage and how these factors combined affects teenagers in decision-making.

The story features a 15-year old girl known as Connie. Connie is undergoing psychological, emotional and physical changes which affect her behavior and change her attitude towards friends and family. She is beautiful but self-centered. Just like kids of her age, her concerns are her beauty and awareness of popular music. She constantly argues with her mother and makes fun of her sister June. The story portrays two different lives, the first of the self-absorbed Connie and the second of her homely sister. June, her older sister, at times she goes out with her friends, but unlike Connie who used to walk with boys. June is very different from Connie in terms of behavior. She is very calm at home and her workplace, she never gets into an argument with her mother, she always does her chores as required, she is thoughtful and her mother is full of praises for her. On the other hand, Connie frequently quarrels with her mother especially when she does not do her duties. She spends most of her time doing unnecessary activities such as taking too much time at the mirror. Furthermore, she talks evil of her mother to her friends. They are never in good terms and she feels like her mother envies her beauty, which is not the case. Connie’s father on the other hand, is less concerned with what goes on with his kids. He is portrayed as being impartial, uncaring and less involved (Oates, 119). He doesn’t enquire about what is happening in his daughter’s life. Without the knowledge of her parents, Connie and her friends frequently goes out looking for old boys at the restaurant. They feel big enough, energetic, full of self-esteem and mature to mingle and hang out with boys older than them.

There are many challenges which face children during the adolescent stage. Psychologically, teens feel mature enough to make decisions on what is right or wrong for them, they start looking at things not as kids but as grown-ups. Unfortunately, their decisions are highly influenced by their peers. The major challenge lies with emotional development. The teens develop strong attraction towards the opposite sex. This makes them vulnerable to those older than them as their words manipulates their thinking and makes them feel acceptable. Physically, the boys have their chest broaden, the voice breaks, they become more masculine while girl’s breasts and hips develop (Prinstein, & Dodge, 72). All these changes trigger a strong spirit from within which gives the teens the urge to maneuver and discover what there is in adulthood. Connie and her friend were undergoing the above changes, their life was centered on popular music and they always wanted to be around boys.

Towards the end of the story, two ‘big boys’ drive to Connie’s home and ask her for an outing. Her parents and sister are away at her aunt's barbecue and she had been left at home alone. Connie is attracted by one of the boys, she likes his grooming and masculinity. Just like other teenagers, she would love to go out with the guys but is too shy to give in. The boys are too persuasive and Connie eventually accepts to go with them. The story ends as Connie moves out and gets into their vehicle. Where they head to is left to reader’s imagination. This chapter brings out various lessons, the most important is how easily the teen is lured to lies. The ‘big boys’ use attractive language which Connie easily falls for. When she tries to refuse their advances she finds herself in a fix and she has no way out but to follow them. One night Connie had a good time with a certain boy. She enjoyed the freedom, the drinks and the music. In her search for freedom, Connie faces a lot of opposition, first she has to sneak every time she wants to go out. She and the others hide their bad behaviors from their parents. At some point she even feels too guilty for lying to her poor mother who happens to trust her so much. Having fun with friends as teens is right but it becomes risky when you hang out with older guys especially of the opposite sex. They are likely to take advantage of kids’ innocence.

We can derive a lot of teachings from the story in relation to adolescence and parental involvement. Teens undergo a lot during adolescence stage which makes them vulnerable to extreme circumstances and if parents’ participation is inadequate, such kids can end up ruining their lives. It’s up to the parents and other stakeholders such as teachers and learning institutions to ensure proper advice and guidance for these children. Parents can play the greatest role because most bad behaviors, which are accompanied with adolescence, are exhibited at home (Haggerty, 45). Children should be given the freedom to involve him/her self in constructive work such as sports, youth seminars and community works. Such activities will make them learn and demonstrate responsibility to the wellbeing of the society. The story shows what teenager faces in the contemporary world. With change and development of high technology, most children nowadays engage more in computer games as well as social networks. This, to some extent, has helped as many children can stay indoor busy playing video games. Children involvement to such activities may not be a solution. Parents are happy when their children are involved co-curricular activities and demonstrate a sense of responsibility and respect for all.

In conclusion, all parents, teachers and even children themselves have a role to play in ensuring that they grow adopting the acceptable behaviors in the society.  The parties should be involved in giving guidance to the kids. Informative stories in the school curriculum have continued offering both knowledge and inspirations to school children so that they can work hard at school, fight peer pressure and motivate them towards being successful.

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