Arnold Friend Character Analysis Essay

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Joyce Carol Oates’s “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” is the story of a girl named Connie. Connie may be the protagonist, but she is not a symbolic character as much as a typical teen-aged girl in the middle of the twentieth century. On the other hand, there is Arnold Friend, the antagonist, who is so full of symbolism that he is nothing but an allegorical figure. There are different interpretations of what, or who, exactly Arnold Friend symbolizes. Some say that he is the personification of temptation. Others hypothesize that the book’s dedication to Bob Dylan is somehow intertwined in Friend’s Allegory. However, the most widely accepted theory is that Arnold Friend is merely Satan, or one of Satan’s demons, coming to collect Connie’s …show more content…

This occurrence could be random, but that is not likely. This encounter likely happens due to multiple sins that Connie commits. These sins mostly consist of lying, not worshipping on the Sabbath, and dishonoring her mother and father. Oates clearly states in the story that Connie and her family blatantly disregard going to church on Sunday (Carol Oates 901). Another example from the story is that she lies to her family on a regular basis. She even goes to the extent that she is a completely different person around her friends than she is when around her friends (Carol Oates 899). Moreover, one of the Ten Commandments is that one should honor their parents. Connie may not necessarily dishonor her parents, but she does upset them, especially her mother. Connie angers her mother when she is asked if she would like to go to an aunt’s barbecue; Connie’s response was that she was not interested as she rolled her eyes (Carol Oates 901). Oates later described the emotion on Connie’s mother’s face as the rest of the family drove away “…her mother with a look that was still angry and not at all softened through the windshield…” (Carol Oates 901). These sins could all be considered everyday choices that could be made differently, and they could have also led to the introduction of the devilish Arnold

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