“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates especially fascinates it readers for its open ending and the ambiguous fate of its protagonist, Connie.
Conflict is the essence of the plot. Conflict in a story builds the climax. The stories, “Two Kinds” and “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” encompass a struggle, both external as well internal, at the center of their plots. “Two Kinds” displays a struggle of a girl and more precisely, a quest for self-identity. “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” captivates a struggle in Connie’s life. The external conflict of Connie is with society and family. Connie’s odd terms with her family and her mother, in particular, explains the same. But her internal conflict is severe and with the open ending of the story, it does not get resolved. Joyce actually keeps enough space for the readers to think about the conflicts and the respective resolutions in their own terms.
In the story “Two Kinds”, the climax appears when the final quest for all the attempts to become the piano star starts to come true before Jingmei. The onset of the events preceding the predicament forms the climax of the story.
In the story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”, the climax occurs when the friends of Arnold come to abduct Connie and threats her.