Arnold Friend's Short Story 'Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?'

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“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” Essay Since it’s publication in 1966, Joyce Carol Oates’s short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” the character Arnold Friend has caught the attention of many critics and readers. Connie is a fifteen year old girl who has an encounter with Friend while she is home alone one summer afternoon. After a long conversation she leaves with this stranger, but it is unknown as to whether it was by Friend’s seductive conviction or by Connie’s own free will. Most critics have said that Friend symbolizes Satan with their assumptions that he kidnapped, raped, and murdered Connie after she left with him. Arnold Friend can be perceived as a savior figure rather than a satanic one as displayed by…show more content…
Connie’s character “ . . . heavily [depends] upon [music] [and] it even becomes her breath of life” (Tierce and Crafton). Friend knows this and uses it to show her that he’s not evil. Connie “ . . . [listens] to the music that [makes] everything so good . . . ” (Oates 2). When Friend first arrives at Connie’s house, “ . . . [she] [begins] to hear the music. It [is] the same program that [is] playing inside the house” (Oates 4). By showing interest in the same music as Connie, Friend shows that he can be trusted by her because he understands something so important to her life. For Connie, music is an escape. Friend is the person who can help her escape and be her savior. Friend’s character is based off of the music legend Bob Dylan, as expressed by the dedication of the story and his character description. It is said that “ . . . Bob Dylan’s followers [perceive] him to be a messiah” (Tierce and Crafton 2). If Friend is based on Dylan, then he is Connie’s messiah, or savior, not a representation of Satan. Marie Urbanski compares “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” to Adam and Eve from the Bible and states that “[it] is music - instead of an apple - which lures Connie . . . ” to leave with Friend (Urbanski 2). Music is not used by Friend to lure Connie away from her home. It is used to show that Friend and Connie have a connection through it and that he can be trusted to save her, not to harm
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