Arnold Friend Symbolism

1005 Words5 Pages

The Devil as Your Friend Have you ever wondered why or how people can manipulate themselves as the devil to receive what they desire? In “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”, a short fictional story by Joyce Carol Oates, the devil is hidden as one of the main characters, Arnold Friend. Through characterization, setting, and plot, Joyce Carol Oates successfully portrays Arnold Friend as a symbolic Satan. Arnold Friend is similar to Satan in his characterization provided by Joyce Carol Oates. Arnold Friend disguises himself in ways to hide all his negative features from Connie, as he seems less threatening this way. Urbanski writes, “As the narrative progresses, his features appear more ominous, his hair like a wig, his slitted eyes …show more content…

Arnold Friend is being described as ominous; in other words, he is threatening. He is being described negatively and is extremely concealing of his true features. He keeps his face covered with sunglasses when he can. It can be argued that he conceals important features so he does not come across to victims as the devil. Arnold Friend’s similarities to the devil do not end there though. Urbanski also writes, “His feet resemble the devil's cloven hooves: ‘one of his boots was at a strange angle, as if his foot wasn't in it’” (Urbanski 1). Here , he is described as having physical similarities to the Devil. So, not only does he act like the Devil, he appears similarly to how the devil does. He is a human with hooves for feet, the devil is also described as having hooves in some stories known to man. Arnold Friend is intending to do harm to Connie. Arnold Friend speaks to Connie, saying, “Gonna get you, baby” (Oates 1). Connie soon …show more content…

Friend manipulates Connie to seem more believable and appear like he cares about his well being. Arnolds ultimate goal is to have Connie believe that her family does not appreciate her, “(this) is exactly what poor, unappreciated Connie wants to hear” (Rubin 1). Arnold is trying to be appealing to Connie by saying what she wants to hear. Like the devil, Arnold is trying to please her to get what he ultimately wants. Arnold is acting like what he is doing is best for her, but he is only truly benefitting himself. He knows that if he can convince her with certain aspects of the plan, she will be more likely to go with him. If she The plot also reveals that Arnold wants Connie physically. Joan Easterly says, “The devil is usually presented as interested in possessing human souls” (Easterly). Arnold Friend will not leave without Connie in the car with him. He desires her physical body, and to take her away to somewhere that they are alone. Similarly to the devil, Arnold wants to get her out of this familiar territory. Arnold also wants her to be cooperative with him in leaving. Arnold Friend says “This little girl’s no trouble and’s gonna be nice to me” (Oates 8). Connie is frustrating Arnold by not coming and he is set off by what Ellie says. He expects her to come willingly, but she is tougher in convincing to come than he thought. Like the devil, he does not give up, and he tries harder. In

Open Document