Character Analysis: An Old Fiend

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Zuzanna Fudala
Com 102- Essay 2

“An Old Fiend”

The nature of living things may not always be detectable; regarding human nature, that can be especially true since we are such complex creatures. Humans are capable of so many things, heinous things for example, and therefore we can be some of the most dangerous creatures. In the story “Where are you going, where have you been?” by Joyce Carol Oates, we are introduced to the characters Arnold Friend: a tall pale man that walks with a sort of limp, as if his shoes would be stuffed. Arnold at first comes off as a suave person but soon turns cryptic and threatening when Connie becomes hesitant to his requests. The underlying themes of Oates’s story are: decisions that we make ultimately
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Schmid’s charisma was an advantage to him as he was able to brag about his murders with the promise from his younger peers that they would be silent about them, to which Moser also addresses in his article (601). Oates’s character Arnold Friend had a similar type of charisma like what Schmidt had with his peers. Arnold was still able to draw out Connie and manipulate her like how Schmidt was able to attract and manipulate his younger peers. In a sense, I think that this is how Oates conveys the theme that arrogance blinds one of ignorance; Schmidt was able to make his teenager peers arrogant in the sense that they thought he was this idol to worship, thus they were blinded by a false skin and were ignorance of what Schmidt was capable as. In the case of Arnold and Connie however, Connie was already arrogant but not arrogant to/about Arnold, but about herself. Her own arrogance came with self-absorption, and a false idea of maturity that made her ignorant to what she really was- a child who didn’t know any better. This was how Arnold was able to manipulate her; he knew what she was like and used that to his advantage. As stated by D.F. Hurley in his analysis of Coulthard, “Charles Schmid not only caused Arnold Friend to exist in a…show more content…
These themes are the main ones because they are exhibited through Connie, who had made naive decisions and was blinded by her own arrogance. This in turn placed her in a position she was unable to handle: figuring out how to deal with Arnold Friend, but ultimately failing and having been thrusted in a situation where she was unable to think clearly or fight
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