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Arnold Friend Character Analysis

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In Joyce Carol Oats “Where Are You Going Where Have You Been,” we are introduced to two main characters. The names of the two main characters are Connie and Arnold Friend. In Oates’s short story, Arnold Friend is an imposter that tries to convince young Connie to go on a ride with him and his friend Ellie. Connie refuses to go on the ride but Arnold’s use unnatural techniques to force Connie to leave her house and go with him. Arnold Friend’s awareness of Connie’s family and friends and his ability to persuade Connie reveals that he is more than just a creepy old man trying to kidnap a young girl. With this being said, Arnold Friend is a representation of the Devil and the evil that lurks near young teenage girls. At first, Arnold Friend looks to be an average teenage boy; but as the story progresses we see that Arnold Friend has numerous unnatural characteristics that leads us to believe that he is the Devil. Arnold Friend has “shaggy, shabby black hair that look[s] crazy as a wig” (Oates). Arnold Friend is said to be wearing a wig in order to cover up his Devil-like …show more content…

Arnold Friend uses his unnatural awareness of Connie’s friends and family to convince Connie to leave her home and go with him. Arnold knows exactly who her friends are and what her family is doing at any given time. We know that this type of awareness is impossible and could only be possible with some sort of supernatural powers. The powers would be related to a demon or an angel. The “x-sign” that Arnold Friends draws in the air is said to be the “initiation” of Connie being controlled by Arnolds’s powers (Weinberger). The letter “x” is said to symbolize the “essence of evil” (Seltzer). While some may argue that Connie leaves her home to save her family from the Devil, the truth is not completely revealed in Oates story. Perhaps, Connie becomes possessed with the “x” drawn in the air forcing her to go with

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