Where Are You Going Where Have You Been Arnold Friend Character Analysis

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“Where are you Going, Where have you Been” by Joyce Carol Oates is a short story that tells of the horrors that are possible when a child is rebellious and secretive. The story’s action begins when the main character, Connie, secretly visits a restaurant when she said she was in the movies, here she sees a man and he waves at her. Later, the same man shows up to her house when her family isn’t home and is trying to convince her to ‘go for a ride’ with him, and the reader learns his name is Arnold Friend. Connie talks to him for a bit, and eventually is manipulated into going with him, and it is assumed that Arnold kills her. Arnold Friend is a creepy, demanding older man, and his true personality is highlighted by the way the author writes…show more content…
One major clue as to who Arnold really is, is that he was at the restaurant, a popular place for teenagers to hang out (Oates 1). This makes it seem like he was at the restaurant specifically to find a young girl to manipulate, which was most likely the case. He is also faking his whole demeanor when he is at Connie's house, which is proven by the author writing “He stood there so stiffly relaxed, pretending to be relaxed” (Oates 5). His actions are all insincere in the beginning, and this is revealed later when his demeanor begins to change. He starts to threaten Connie, demanding that he comes with her or he will hurt her family (Oates 8). As well as this, he threatens to come inside if she calls the police, promising “not to come in unless you touch that phone” (Oates 7). In saying this, he is being manipulative towards Connie, scaring her out of calling the police. These actions show the reader his true colors, that he is a strange, demanding, manipulative man. Oates’s story teaches an extremely important lesson to young girls. This story can teach people not to be so secretive, and also to be weary of anybody that you do not know well, no matter how friendly they seem at first. These lessons are taught mostly through the way antagonist of the story, Arnold Friend, is written by the author. Arnold is a creepy, manipulative, and demanding man, but he pretends as if he is not. The author used his name, speech, appearance, and actions to show that a person is not always what they appear to
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