Arnold Friend Symbolism

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In “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” it is a thrilling short story leaving the reader on the edge of their seat wondering what happened. It was published in 1966. Some other works written by Joyce Carol Oates are “Wonderland,” and “In the Region of Ice.” “Oates concerns herself with the formulation of the American dream and how it has changed” (Mann and Benson). Joyce enjoys writing about the dangers of the world, such as, rape, and murder. “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” is about an insecure girl named Connie who ends up getting raped, and murdered by a “devil in disguise,” Arnold Friend. Oates uses many forms of symbolism in this short story, all associating with darkness, childhood, and religion. Joyce also uses characterization …show more content…

Arnold Friend is a major symbolic character in this short story, relating with darkness. “Similarities between Arnold Friend and the devil: his disguise, his supernatural knowledge of the whereabouts of Connie’s family, his ability to lure Connie to him against her will, even his very name, which is very close to “Arch Fiend”” (“Where Are You Going”). An “Arch Fiend” is an evil spirit or demon, especially the devil. Arnold Friend’s disguise relates to the devil, because he is trying to pretend to be someone he is not. He signs an “X” in the air to Connie, which symbolizes a sideways cross. Also, the devil is capable of manipulating people, and knows everything about them. “I took a special interest in you, such a pretty girl, and found out all about you- like I know your parents and sister are gone somewheres and I know where and how long they’re going to be gone” (Oates). This symbolizes his relation to the devil, because he stated that he knows all of Connie’s, and her family’s whereabouts. He proceeds to list exactly what her family is doing in that very moment. Arnold Friend foreshadows the death of Connie, and foreshadows his symbolism of the devil, and darkness in the beginning of the story at the fly-infested restaurant. He wags his finger at her saying “Gonna get you, baby.” The author is putting these hints in the story to …show more content…

“A grotesque parody of a church, the building is bottle shaped and has a grinning boy holding a hamburger aloft on top of it. Unconscious of any ludicrousness, Connie and her friend enter it as if going into a “sacred building” which will give them “what haven and blessing that yearned for.” It is the music which is “always in the background, like music at a church service” that has invested this “bright-lit, fly-infested” place with such significance”” (“Where Are You Going”). This is an example of symbolism because Connie, and her family do not attend church. This is ironic, since a huge topic in this short story is about the devil, and death. “They went up through the maze of parked and cruising cars to the bright lit, fly-infested restaurant, their faces pleased and expectant as if they were entering a sacred building that loomed up out of the night to give them what haven and blessing they yearned for. They listened to the music that made everything so good. The music was always in the background, like music at a church service” (Oates). These symbols contain several ideas. For example, the “bottle shaped” restaurant represents a church, and the grinning boy on top could represent either God, or a cross. The author seems to be exploring the idea of religion, even though the short

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